(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff
North African countries have a better chance of putting an end to ISIS in the region if they unify, said the Tunisian Minister of Defense on Tuesday.
Libya’s neighbours are concerned that ISIS fighters who left their homelands to join the terrorist group in Libya might return now that the extremist group has no future in Sirte.
Forces loyal to the UN-backed Libyan unity government began their offensive against the extremist group in May and are now preparing for their final battles against ISIS.
Tunisia said there are around 4,000 Tunisian nationals that left the country to join ISIS in Libya and could potentially be returning home to establish a presence in the country on behalf of the terrorist group.
“The danger is real. Those who leave Sirte are heading south to eventually join Boko Haram, but some are also going west,” said Tunisian minister Farhat Hachani at a meeting for defence and military officials in Paris.
“There isn’t a regional strategy. Neighbouring countries are managing the day to day security and military question … but while there are terror laws, you need proof that a young person was in a camp or fighting in jihadist ranks,” said the Tunisian minister.
“We are in a decisive moment. The threats endanger all the region. We have to cooperate before the boat sinks,” he said.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French minister of defence, said the spread of ISIS fighters outside of Libya has to be taken care of and a plan to resolve the issue needs to be implemented.
“They don’t just disappear so there’s a new risk there and only a real cooperation between all neighbouring countries will enable us to face that threat,” said Le Drian.