Libya

Tripoli (AFP) Libya’s unity government chief Fayez al-Sarraj urged visiting British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson Wednesday to help lift a United Nations arms embargo in force since the 2011 Libyan revolution. Sarraj requested “the support of the British government to speed up the lifting of the embargo”, according to a unity government statement after their talks in Tripoli. Sarraj said such a move would help “arm and equip (Libya’s) coastguard and border guards to carry out their missions against smugglers, especially people traffickers”, it said. The two discussed the fightRead More
Tripoli (AFP) An armed group has released former Libyan premier Ali Zeidan, nine days after he was kidnapped in Tripoli while making his first visit home for three years, a family member and friend said Wednesday. Zeidan, 67, who served as premier from November 2012 to March 2014, was snatched on August 13 from his hotel. He was on his first visit to Tripoli since leaving the country following his ouster by parliament on charges of embezzling public funds. “Mr Zeidan was released on Tuesday night. He is in veryRead More
Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) At least 11 people were beheaded Wednesday in an attack claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group on a checkpoint manned by forces of Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar. Haftar’s spokesman Colonel Ahmad al-Mesmari said “at least nine soldiers were beheaded… in addition to two civilians” when the jihadists attacked at dawn in the Al-Jufra region about 500 kilometres (300 miles) south of Tripoli. IS claimed responsibility for the attack via its Amaq propaganda channel on the Telegram messaging app, saying its fighters had killed or woundedRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Libya’s former prime minister Ali Zeidan has been kidnapped by an armed group in war-torn Tripoli and not been heard from in nine days, family members and friends said Tuesday. Zeidan, who became premier in November 2012, was dismissed by Libya’s parliament in March 2014 amid accusations that public funds had been embezzled. He left the country soon afterwards, in defiance of a travel ban issued by the attorney general. Zeidan had returned to Libya in early August for the first time since his dismissal and was planningRead More
Benghazi (Libya) (AFP) The forces of Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar said Friday they had detained a senior commander two weeks before the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest over unlawful killings in the flashpoint city of Benghazi. “We hereby inform you that the defendant… has been arrested and investigated by the military prosecutor on those charges” since August 2, as ordered by Haftar, said the general command of his armed forces. The International Criminal Court (ICC) announced Tuesday that it had issued a war crimes arrestRead More
Tripoli (AFP) Libyan authorities on Thursday repatriated 135 Nigerian migrants, including women and children, who had made failed attempts to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, an official said. “We are organising… the voluntary repatriation of 135 clandestine Nigerian migrants who were rescued offshore by the coastguard,” said Hosni Abu Ayanah of the Libyan government agency tackling illegal migration. The first group of 75 men and 10 women gathered Thursday in downtown Tripoli to board buses with metal grills towards the capital’s Mitiga airport. Others were set to depart from otherRead More
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