Libya

Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar insisted Sunday that the mandate of the country’s UN-backed government has run out after what he said was the expiration of a tattered 2015 political deal. The UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco on December 17, 2015 established Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) for a one-year period, renewable only once. Despite that deal, Libya has remained divided between the GNA government in Tripoli led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and a rival administration backed by Haftar in the east. In a televised speechRead More
Bani Walid (Libya) (AFP) For migrants who escape torture and starvation at the hands of people traffickers, a “Safe House” in an oasis town offers a rare commodity in Libya: shelter and medical care. Bani Walid, on the edge of the desert 170 kilometres (110 miles) southeast of the capital Tripoli, is a transit point on the way to the coast and perilous boat journeys across the Mediterranean to Europe. With the old green flags of Moamer Kadhafi’s regime fluttering in the wind, time appears to have stood still inRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Amnesty International on Tuesday accused European governments of “complicity” in the detention under horrific conditions of migrants in Libya, especially through their assistance to the Libyan coastguard implicated in people trafficking. “European governments are knowingly complicit in the torture and abuse of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants detained by Libyan immigration authorities in appalling conditions in Libya,” the rights group said in a report. It accused European governments of “actively supporting a sophisticated system of abuse and exploitation of refugees and migrants by the Libyan coastguard,Read More
Tripoli (AFP) Italy and Libya will set up a joint commission in a bid to fight back against people traffickers and tackle the problem of illegal migration, the Tripoli government said Saturday. The announcement was made after talks in the Libyan capital between Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti and Libya’s Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Intelligence agents, coastguard and judicial officials from both countries will sit on the commission, Sarraj’s office said in a statement. Human-trafficking networks have flourished in the chaos that followed a NATO-backed uprising which toppled long-time LibyanRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Libya on Wednesday launched a UN-brokered effort to hold elections in the strife-torn country with a campaign to register new voters. Imed al-Sayeh, head of the country’s High National Election Commission (HNEC), announced the launch in Tripoli alongside the UN envoy Ghassan Salame. The campaign aims to add at least one million new voters to the 1.5 million Libyans already on a 2014 electoral register, Sayeh told a news conference. The head of the HNEC, regarded as one of Libya’s few credible and independent institutions since a 2011Read More
Tripoli (AFP) Libya’s UN-backed authorities said Tuesday that flights repatriating stranded migrants will be stepped up, as the International Organization for Migration called on Tripoli to empty its detention centres. The plight of migrants in Libya has garnered fresh attention after an outcry over reports of slave auctions in the country, an enormous transit hub for sub-Saharan Africans seeking to reach Europe. Human-trafficking networks have flourished in the chaos that followed a NATO-backed uprising which toppled long-time Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011. In a joint operation involving the internationallyRead More
Tripoli (AFP) More than 30 migrants died and 200 were rescued on Saturday after their boats foundered off Libya’s western coast, the Libyan navy said. The coastguard conducted two rescue operations off the city of Garabulli, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Tripoli, spokesman Colonel Abu Ajila Abdelbarri said. He added that patrols had found 31 bodies and 60 survivors from one boat, while all 140 passengers had survived in a second boat. “When we arrived at the spot, we found an inflatable dinghy with several people clinging to partRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Libya will investigate alleged slave trading in the country, the internationally recognised government announced Sunday, following the release of video footage appearing to show migrants being auctioned off. Chaos-ridden Libya has long been a major transit hub for migrants trying to reach Europe, and many of them have fallen prey to serious abuse in the North African country at the hands of traffickers and others. US television network CNN aired the footage last week of an apparent live auction in Libya where black men are presented to NorthRead More
Tripoli (AFP) The African Union on Friday called for Libyan authorities to investigate “slave markets” of black Africans operating in the conflict-torn nation, following the release of shocking images showing the sale of young men. The demand follows the release of CNN footage of a live auction in Libya where black youths are presented to north African buyers as potential farmhands and sold off for as little as $400. Guinean President Alpha Conde, who is also Chairman of the African Union, demanded an enquiry and prosecutions relating to what heRead More
Tripoli (AFP) The Libyan coastguard on Tuesday called for more European aid for its “obsolete” fleet, warning it would not otherwise be able to rescue migrants in the Mediterranean in 2018. The appeal came as the UN slammed as “inhuman” the EU’s policy of helping Libyan authorities intercept migrants at sea and return them to “horrific” prisons in the North African country. Colonel Abu Ajila Abdelbarri of the Libyan coastguard said that by the start of next year’s migration season in spring, “we will not be able to carry outRead More