Tunisia Policeman Killed in Clashes on Algeria Border

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Tunisia Policeman Killed in Clashes on Algeria Border

A Tunisian policeman was killed in clashes with gunmen in Kasserine on the border with Algeria on Monday, a security source said, adding that military reinforcements were sent to the region.

"The clashes are continuing," he told Agence France Presse, adding that two helicopters and armored vehicles were dispatched to the border area.

The source said that a guard at an oil company spotted "five suspicious bearded men" near the Tunisian district of Bou Chebka, two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the Algerian border, and notified police.

"The police chief who headed out first was shot and killed," the security official said.

He said the gunmen were probably "arms smugglers" but was unable to specify if they were Salafists, or hardline Muslims.

On Saturday a Tunisian security source reported that police had seized guns and explosives and arrested two men from the Salafist stronghold of Jendouba in the Fernana area near the Algerian border.

In an interview published on Friday, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki expressed concern at arms trafficking in North Africa since the fall of Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

Gadhafi's "regime accumulated weapons, and now some are in the hands not only of Islamists from Libya, but also from Algeria and Tunisia," Marzouki said in an interview with The World Today, edited by London-based think tank Chatham House.

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