Hundreds of Tunisians who were stranded in Libya after the borders were closed over the coronavirus crisis reached a Tunisian frontier post on Monday, Tunisia’s Interior Ministry said.
“They have lived in a very difficult situation and have been facing their destiny alone for long days,” said Mustafa Abdel Kabir, head of the Human Rights Observatory, a Tunisian organization.
Some 652 people reached the border post and will be subjected to security checks before they can cross, when they will enter quarantine facilities, it said in a statement carried by state media.
Many of the migrants on the border have been stranded there for weeks and hundreds still remain, the Libya head of the United Nations migration agency, which has been providing them with aid, said in a Tweet.
Federico Soda, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) chief of mission in Libya, posted footage showing a crowd of people carrying luggage, blankets and clothes strung out down a long road as they walked across the frontier.
Despite its long conflict and years of political instability, oil-exporting Libya is home to thousands of Tunisian migrant workers.
However, both countries closed their borders last month in an effort to stop the coronavirus from spreading, leaving many Tunisians unable to return home.