US Army awards contract for installation of surveillance system on Libya-Tunisia border

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The United States Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DETRA) has contracted two security and surveillance systems companies to install an electronic surveillance system on the Tunisian border to monitor terrorist movements, particularly on the Libyan side.

According to a statement released by the US embassy in the Tunisian capital Tunis on 23 March, the $24.9 million contract has been awarded to American construction group BTP and consulting and engineering firm AECOM.
“The United States Government is pleased to announce the first part of an award of a $24.9 million dollar contract for a project to strengthen Tunisia’s border security capabilities along the Tunisia-Libya border.
“The contract is being awarded by the United States’ Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) and will provide an integrated border surveillance system based on remotely monitored sensors, along with basic border security equipment and related training for the Tunisian Army and National Guard,” the embassy said.

The mission said the US has disbursed the first instalment to fund the project, which is aimed at strengthening security along the frontier to prevent terrorists crossing from Libya into the country.

The project also includes the training of Tunisian forces who will operate the system. However, no timelines were given for the start and completion of the works.

Last month, a terrorist cell believed to be linked to the Islamic State in Libya crossed into Tunisia and attacked a border town in a raid that left dozens dead and exposed the country’s continuing vulnerability to external terror attacks.

At least three attacks targeting Tunisian tourist resorts were recorded in 2015, and all of them were found to have been planned and staged from Libya.

At least 3 000 Tunisian citizens are believed to be fighting for Islamic State and other regional militant groups in Libya, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and the Egyptian Sinai. Tunisia has completed a 200-kilometre (125-mile) barrier that stretches about half the length of its border with Libya to prevent militants from infiltrating the country.