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
Tripoli (AFP) Libya’s coastguard has rescued over 3,000 migrants aiming to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in the past week, while Italy picked up another 2,000 in recent days, official and reports said Sunday. Though the numbers attempting the dangerous journey have dropped off significantly in recent months, these new rescues indicate the route is still very much open. The tally was the highest reported out of Libya for a one-week period since mid-July saw a dramatic fall in the number of migrants trying to reach Europe. Six years sinceRead More
Sabrata (Libya) (AFP) In Sabrata, Libya’s main departure point for clandestine migrants hoping to reach Europe, people trafficking gangs are under so much pressure that some have closed for business. The results have been noticed on the other side of the Mediterranean where the number of arrivals on the Italian coast has dropped dramatically. Italy has registered 6,500 arrivals since mid-July, barely 15 percent of the average for the same period between 2014 and 2016. Libyan officials say the falling number is due to stronger surveillance by the coastguards ofRead More
Tripoli (AFP) French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian pledged his country’s support for efforts to resolve Libya’s political and security chaos during a visit to the war-wracked country. Le Drian held talks in the capital Tripoli with the foreign minister of the UN-backed Government of National Accord, and then travelled to the east of the country, where he met military strongman Khalifa Haftar who backs a rival administration. “This is a signal of the commitment of France, of President (Emmanuel) Macron’s will, to contribute to resolving this crisis,” Le DrianRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Oil production has been suspended for several days at three oil fields in Libya after an armed militia shut off pipelines, the state-owned National Oil Company said Wednesday. The output of oil, nearly one million barrels per day prior to the stoppage, had fallen by more than 360,000 bpd, NOC said in a statement. The armed group, described as “criminal” by the company, had in the past few days closed off two pipelines to the refinery and port at Zawya from the Al-Sharara and Al-Hamada oil fields. ItRead More
Tripoli (AFP) The Libyan navy said Monday it has seized an oil tanker near the maritime border with Tunisia and detained the 20-member Filipino crew on suspicion of fuel smuggling. Navy spokesman General Ayoub Kacem said the vessel was intercepted on Sunday off Abu Kamash, 170 kilometres (110 miles) west of Tripoli, and its crew transported to the capital to appear before the prosecutor general. The Liberian-flagged tanker belonging to a Greek company was loaded with six million litres (1.5 million gallons) of contraband fuel, he said. Plunged into conflictRead More
Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar on Thursday during a visit to Benghazi, officials said. Their talks focused on “the development of the political situation in Libya”, Haftar’s spokesman Khalifa al-Abidi said without giving further details. Johnson said the meeting came in support of efforts to amend a December 2015 UN-backed deal for a unity government in Libya. “We are reaching out to all sides in Libya in support of the United Nations work to amend the Libyan Political Agreement so thatRead More