Nomads have been pouring into the French Territory of Afars and Issas recently as the barbed-wire border erected by the French in 1966 is being pulled down.
GV People walking to border post watched by French troops (4 shots)
GV PAN Tanks at border
TRACKING SHOT & GV barbed wire fences (3 shots)
GV Bulldozer removing barbed wire (3 shots)
CU Mine on ground
GV Tank driving along past barbed wire fence
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Nomads have been pouring into the French Territory of Afars and Issas recently as the barbed-wire border erected by the French in 1966 is being pulled down. The territory will be celebrating its independence on the 27th of June.
SYNOPSIS: People, both from Ethiopia and Somalia, have been arriving since the 21st of May, when the official dismantling process began. Already more than 1,500 people have crossed into the territory. The wire was originally erected to prevent a rise in the crime rate. Hundreds of jobless people used to migrate into the country, turning to crime as a means of living.
The French-built border was strictly defined, consisting of 14???? kilometres (9.3 miles) of spiked barbed wire, booby-trapped with explosives and anti-personnel arms. Tanks and bulldozers from the French Foreign Legion have been dismantling the fence, while specialists have been tackling the incendiary devices and mines. The border has always been rather ill-defined. But since 1966 police allowed only those French sympathisers with the necessary papers to enter the country.
In spite of this, between 1973 and 1974, more than 1,500 people managed to slip into the country. According to police most were eventually apprehended for thieving and returned to their homeland. For the nomadic population, however, both underdeveloped and underfed, the French Territory has been and still is a source of prosperity.
The future Head of State, M. Hassen Gouled, and leader of the Popular African League for Independence has always vehemently opposed the fence. Nonetheless there has already been a steady increase in the number of criminal activities.