Libyan rebels are smuggling weapons through Tunisia to fight Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's forces in western Libya, the BBC has learned.One Libyan smuggler told the BBC that AK47s and grenade launchers are being taken across the border by individuals, in small but frequent consignments.
Gaddafi forces are on the Tunisian border, and shelling often spills over.
The fledgling Tunisian government is fearful of giving overt support to the rebels.
Tunisian border guards are under orders to search each car going in to Libya.
But members of the Libyan diaspora are funding the purchase of small arms to send to western Libya, said the Libyan smuggler, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity.
He said that many Tunisians are sympathetic and help get the arms in to the rebels.
A rebel commander in western Libya said his forces kept a record of each fighter and the serial number of their weapons, so they could be collected when the war was over.
Commander Ahbeel Dody appealed for Nato countries to send more and heavier weapons through Tunisia officially.
He said a shortage in the Nafousa mountains, where towns have gained ground in frequent clashes with Col Gaddafi's forces, was prolonging the war.