Tripoli (AFP) The Libyan navy on Thursday ordered foreign vessels to stay out of a coastal “search and rescue zone” for migrants headed for Europe, a measure it said targeted NGOs. Six years since a revolution that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, Libya has become a key departure point for migrants risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Tens of thousands of migrants have resorted to paying people traffickers for the journey, often on overcrowded and unseaworthy boats. Charities have dispatched boats to rescue migrants from drowning, whileRead More
Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) Jihadists on Sunday killed five members of a force led by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in the country’s east, a pro-Haftar news agency reported. “Terrorist groups attacked at dawn Sunday three sites under the control” of Haftar’s forces south of the eastern city of Derna, it said. Four of Haftar’s forces were also wounded, it added. Derna was known for being a bastion for jihadists even before the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. Haftar’s forces are waging a campaign against jihadist groups,Read More
Tripoli (AFP) Libya’s UN-backed unity government chief has denied that an agreement has been struck with Rome to deploy Italian vessels in Libyan waters to combat human trafficking. Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj “denies having asked Italy to send naval vessels into Libya’s territorial waters… or fighter planes into Libyan airspace”, his Government of National Accord (GNA) said in a statement late on Thursday. “Such allegations… are without any foundation,” Sarraj was quoted as saying in the statement. “Libya’s national sovereignty is a red line that nobody must cross.” Tripoli andRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Libya’s coastguard in two separate operations on Monday rescued at least 278 migrants as they tried to reach Europe, naval officials said. In one operation, 150 migrants, mostly Africans, ran into trouble when their inflatable boat broke down and began sinking off the coast of Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Tripoli, Navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem said. Those aboard included two women and four children, he said. A rescue mission was launched after a Tripoli coastguard patrol was informed of the boat’s plight, patrol commander Colonel AbuRead More
Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) The head of Libya’s National Oil Company announced on Wednesday that oil production is expected to reach 1.25 million barrels per day by the end of 21017. NOC president Mustafa Sanalla said, however, that “despite a surge of more than one million bpd” oil production would fluctuate “in the absence of a budgetary law”. Sanalla, who was in the eastern city of Benghazi for talks with oil company chiefs on reuniting the sector, which like other institutions has been hard hit by divisions in Libya. With estimatedRead More
Tripoli (AFP) The head of Libya’s UN-backed unity government has announced a new political roadmap for his violence-wracked country, with presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in March 2018. Political rivalry and fighting between militias have hampered Libya’s efforts to recover from the chaos that followed the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. The Government of National Accord has been struggling to assert its authority since it began work in Tripoli in March 2016, with a rival administration based in the remote east refusing toRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Clashes between forces loyal to Libya’s unity government and rival fighters east of Tripoli have left four people dead including at least two civilians, the health ministry said. Another 21 people were wounded in the fighting on Sunday and Monday in Garabulli about 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of the capital, the ministry said overnight on Facebook. Two foreign workers, whose nationalities were unclear, were among those killed, it said. Clashes broke out on Sunday evening between forces loyal to the Government of National Accord and fighters alignedRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Forces loyal to Libya’s UN-backed Government of National Accord on Sunday battled rival forces in the Garabulli region east of the capital, witnesses said, drawing condemnation from the UN. Witnesses said the fighting pitted pro-GNA forces against fighters loyal to former prime minister Khalifa Ghweil who refuses to recognise the UN-backed government. It broke out when Ghweil’s forces, ousted from Tripoli in recent weeks, regrouped around Garabulli preparing to attack the capital, the witnesses said. Pro-GNA forces backed by dozens of tanks and pick-up trucks mounted with anti-aircraftRead More
Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) Jihadists are still battling Libyan forces in Benghazi days after strongman Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled army declared victory in the eastern city, his forces said Sunday. Colonel Miloud Zwei, spokesman for Haftar’s Libyan National Army, said the fighting persisted in the district of Soug al-Jarid, located between the central neighbourhoods of Soug al-Hout and Al-Sabri, the jihadists’ last strongholds. Zwei said 20 LNA soldiers have been killed by “terrorists” who had been hiding in houses since Haftar on Wednesday announced the “total liberation” of Benghazi. ThreeRead More
Garabulli (Libya) (AFP) Thirty-five migrants, including seven children, were feared drowned after their inflatable boat sank on Saturday off the Libyan coast, the coastguard said. Eighty-five migrants, including 18 women, were rescued with the help of fishermen who alerted the coastguard, said Issa al-Zarrouk, a coastguard official in Garabulli, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Tripoli. Navy spokesman Ayoub Kacem said the boat sank six nautical miles northwest of Garabulli, and 10 fishing boats took part in the rescue. The rescued migrants were from countries including Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, theRead More