Sabratha (Libya) (AFP) A force allied with Libya’s unity government in the people-smuggling hub of Sabratha has detained more than 3,000 migrants, a security official said on Saturday. “We arrested 3,150 illegal immigrants of different Asian, Arab and African nationalities,” the force’s commander Bassem Ghrabli said. His force said Friday it had driven a rival militia, led by the head of a former people smuggling network, out of the city after three weeks of fighting. The clashes left 39 people dead and 300 wounded, according to the unity government’s healthRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Libyan authorities on Thursday demanded an explanation from Britain’s foreign minister Boris Johnson over his remark on the need to “clear dead bodies” away in the strife-torn North African country. The foreign secretary has already come under fire at home over his assessment of an August visit to Libya that the country could attract foreign investment and tourists after the corpses from fighting were cleared. Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the internationally recognised Government of National Accord, met the British ambassador Peter Millett to demand an explanation of theRead More
Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) Benghazi port in east Libya reopened Sunday for the first time in three years after being forced to cease operations because of clashes in the cradle of the 2011 revolution. Commercial operations at the port had ended in 2014 when armed movements, including the Islamic State group, occupied the North African country’s second city. They were expelled in July this year by the forces of military strongman Khalifa Haftar who backs a rival administration in the east to the UN-recognised government in Tripoli. It was the eastern-basedRead More
Tripoli (AFP) The Libyan attorney general said Thursday that arrest warrants have been issued for more than 830 suspected members of the Islamic State jihadist group in the North African country. Fifty other warrants will be delivered to Interpol for IS suspects abroad, Siddiq al-Sour told a news conference, adding that the list was compiled after questioning of suspected IS members in several Libyan towns. IS fighters have redeployed in the south of the country since the jihadist group was evicted from its bastion of Sirte on the Mediterranean coastRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Libya’s navy warned it will seize activists’ boats on migrant rescue missions that enter its waters unauthorised, after a run-in Wednesday with a German vessel during which a warning shot was fired. “This time we avoided an escalation. In future, we will seize the boats of NGOs that do not respect Libya’s sovereignty,” said navy spokesman General Ayub Kacem. The Libyan coastguard earlier boarded a boat operated by Germany’s “Mission Lifeline” which had picked up 52 migrants at sea. “You are not welcome here,” a coastguard official saidRead More
Sirte (Libya) (AFP) US forces carried out six “precision air strikes” against an Islamic State camp in Libya, killing 17 people, the US Africa Command said Sunday. The command said the air strikes were conducted on Friday, in coordination with Libya’s Government of National Accord, hitting a desert camp 150 miles (240 kilometers) southeast of the city of Sirte. “The camp was used by ISIS to move fighters in and out of the country; stockpile weapons and equipment; and to plot and conduct attacks,” it said in a statement usingRead More
Tripoli (AFP) More than 100 migrants are missing after a shipwreck off the coast of western Libya, the Libyan navy said on Thursday. Rescuers found at least seven survivors on Wednesday after they had remained for three days at sea, navy spokesman Ayub Kassem said, without providing further details. The shipwreck occurred off the town of Sabratha, a hub for illegal migration to Europe that has seen violent clashes between rival armed groups since Sunday. Last week, Libya’s coastguard rescued more than 3,000 migrants aiming to cross the Mediterranean toRead More
Tripoli (AFP) At least eight migrants drowned and almost 90 others went missing after a shipwreck off Libya, a local official citing survivors who had clung onto the sinking vessel for days said Thursday. The Libyan navy said the shipwreck occurred off the coast of Sabratha, a town west of Tripoli that is a hub for illegal migration to Europe and from where the vessel had set off. Eight bodies were found and 35 migrants rescued on Tuesday and Wednesday, Seddik al-Jayach, an official in Zuwara, further west, told AFP.Read More
Tripoli (AFP) Libyans queued in long lines outside petrol stations in the capital Tripoli on Tuesday after fighters forced the closure of a fuel pipeline to the city. On Monday, “an armed militia trespassed (at) Zawiya Oil Storage Depot and forced the workers (in) the control room to stop pumping the fuel to Tripoli,” Libya’s oil company said in a statement in English. The National Oil Corporation said it changed the route of “fuel vessels heading to Zawiya port to discharge in Tripoli port”, though warehouses in Tripoli were stillRead More
Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) The head of Libya’s rival government in the east called Sunday on the international community to recognise his administration which he says controls most of the North African country. Libya, which plunged into chaos after the ouster and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, has two rival governments and parliaments, as well as several militia groups battling to control its oil wealth. The Government of National Unity, based in the capital Tripoli, is backed by the United Nations. However, in a telephone interview with AFP onRead More