The year 2013 was for the province of Tlemcen, a year of a relentless fight against smuggling in general and fuel trafficking in particular.This phenomenon has taken a so alarming proportion that the government, concerned to protect national economy and the interests of citizens affected by this situation, took drastic measures to put an "end" to this situation that has lasted too long.
"Hellabas," name assigned to fuel smugglers, with their vehicles whose tanks were modified to contain larger amounts of fuel, were part of the daily landscape of the region. They stand out on the roads with their constant back and forth to service stations to refuel and go sell to traffickers in the neighboring country Morocco.Using subterfuge and various means, these individuals have become a real danger to users of the road N35 between Tlemcen and Maghnia and those using the East-West highway. They are often the cause of many tragic accidents because of their speeding. Their revenues depend on the number of comes and goes made between service stations and points of delivery of their precious cargo.Drastic measuresDue to that situation detrimental to the national economy and the enormous difficulties faced by motorists to be supplied in gasoline and diesel, important steps have been taken by the government. The fuel supply has been capped at DZD 500 for light vehicles and DZD 2,000 for trucks, while the quota of fuel delivered to each service station of the province was lowered to curb this scourge.The strict application of these new measures, accompanied by rigorous controls at service stations by various security forces, have led many "hellab" to suspend traffic and to convert to other trades. Times got tough for these traffickers, with trenches and other barriers erected along the border strip, making it difficult to access the other side of the border as "Hellab" generally use donkeys to transport fuel for neighboring countries.Besides these measures, according to officials of various security forces, check points were multiplied and strengthened along the roads which helped the seizure of large quantities of fuel but also huge amounts drug mainly from Morocco in addition to other food products for smuggling.