Border with Morocco tightened

Algeria cracks down on fuel smuggling

GMT 08:31 2013 Monday ,05 August

Arab Today, arab today Algeria cracks down on fuel smuggling

The Algerian-Moroccan border has been closed since 1994
Rabat - Radouane Mabchour

The Algerian-Moroccan border has been closed since 1994 Algerian security authorities have tightened security on the Moroccan-Algerian border in order to stop fuel being smuggled from Algeria into Morocco. Algeria has deployed 757 officers along the border, which has been closed since a feud between the neighbouring countries in 1994.
According to the Moroccan daily Assabah, the Algerian Commander-in-Chief of the National Gendarmerie security force last week sent a delegation to the border to carry out a preparatory tour, ahead of adopting the new anti-smuggling strategy.
Algerian military engineers have begun making tunnels beneath the border, and the country’s prime minister has instructed security forces to intercept all vehicles passing through, the newspaper reported.
The smuggling of oil across the Moroccan-Algerian has been a cause of tension among the population of western Algeria.
Last week, a group of Algerian fuel smugglers set fire in a petrol station on borders after the new security measures were imposed.
Against this backdrop, Moroccan fuel markets have witnessed a major price hike, with the cost of a 30 litre barrel of oil rising from 140 dirhams ($16.87) to 300 dirhams ($36.15).
In Algeria, petrol stations have witnessed overcrowding, leading to threats of popular demonstrations.
Some smugglers have taken a step back from their smuggling activity until prices go back down.
The eastern region of Morocco is the main market for smuggled Algerian oil, because of its strategic location near the Algerian border.

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