Spanish aid group: More than 200 migrants feared dead after boats sink off Libya

Five bodies recovered as hundreds are feared dead off the coast of Libya • NGO spots two sunken boatsFive migrants were found dead in the sea off Libya on Thursday after the boats they were traveling in sank, likely carrying hundreds more to their deaths, an aid organization said.Proactiva Open Arms, one of several groups operating in the area, said it was notified that an inflatable boat was sinking early on Thursday and found another going down shortly afterwards. "We brought on board five corpses recovered from the sea, but no lives. It is a harsh reality check of the suffering here that is invisible in Europe," the group wrote on Facebook.Given the size of the boats, which are often packed with people by smugglers in Libya, there were probably more than 100 people in each, Proactiva spokeswoman Laura Lanuza said.A spokesman for Italy's coast guard, which coordinates and participates in rescues, confirmed the five bodies were on board Proactiva's ship, the Golfo Azzurro, which he said would remain in the area in case of any emergency calls.A rising number of migrants is attempting to cross the central Mediterranean this year after a deal between the European Union and Turkey largely shut down a route to Greece.A total of 559 deaths have been recorded in the Mediterranean so far this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration. About 5,000 were recorded for the whole of 2016.

March 23, 2017 18:56 UTC

Human rights organization says east Libya army may have committed war crimes

Amnesty International said on Thursday that execution-style killings carried out by fighters from the “Libyan National Army (LNA)” against captured fighters from the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries (SCBR) in the Ganfouda may amount to war crimes. The human rights organization said it had verified two shocking videos showing fatal shooting of defenceless captives by LNA fighters. Both incidents took place in the Ganfouda area of Benghazi, formerly one of the last strongholds held by the SCBR forces. Ganfouda had been under military blockade for months, with LNA forces controlling the roads in and out of the area. The so-called Libya National Army, led by General Khalifa Haftar, claimed these killing incidents are isolated and do not represent the army.

March 23, 2017 15:44 UTC

Nigerian migrants flown home from Libya

Nigerian migrants flown home from LibyaLibyan authorities on Thursday flew home 159 Nigerian migrants stranded after failing to reach Europe, in the second such voluntary repatriation operation this week. IOM head William Lacy Swing, who was in Tripoli on Wednesday, visited a reception centre for migrants accompanied by the UN special envoy for Libya, Martin Kobler. “We can no longer turn our back on the communities affected by the current migration crisis” in Libya, said Swing, who met with Libyan officials. Kobler said it was “a humanitarian imperative” to improve the living conditions of migrants and help with repatriations. A group of 150 nationals of the Ivory Coast, gathered from detention centres around Libya, were flown home on Tuesday.

March 23, 2017 15:11 UTC

Libya increases oil production

Libya’s oil production has reached 700.000 bpd, member of the Board of Directors of the National Oil Corporation Jadallah Al-Okali has declared, adding the NOC is working to increase the production to 800.000 bpd by the end of April. Al-Okali also indicated that the NOC aims to push the production to 1.1 million bpd in August 2017.

March 23, 2017 12:45 UTC

Court ruling blocks Libya-Italy MoU on stemming illegal immigration

Tripoli Appeals Court's administrative division ruled Wednesday to block the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Libya and Italy to fight the growing influx of illegal immigrants and the issue of human trafficking as well as to help Libya secure its southern borders. "The MoU will be blocked urgently until the lawsuit is tackled in full." The court ruling stated.

March 22, 2017 18:45 UTC

Human Rights Watch: Haftar's forces guilty of war crimes in Benghazi

Dignity Operation forces, led by Khalifa Haftar, may have committed war crimes, including killing and beating civilians, and summarily executing and desecrating bodies of opposition fighters in the eastern city of Benghazi on and around March 18, 2017, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Wednesday. In its report, titled "Summary Executions, Attacks on Civilians, Desecration of Corpses," Human Rights Watch said that the forces of Khalifa Haftar's Dignity Operation intercepted civilians trying to flee a besieged neighborhood of Ganfouda, some accompanied by opposition fighters, and the whereabouts of some civilians are unknown. "Khalifa Hiftar, the commander of the Dignity Operation forces in eastern Libya, should order a full and transparent investigation into recent alleged crimes by forces under his command, including attacks on civilians, alleged summary executions, and the mutilation and desecration of corpses, and hold those responsible to account." "Dignity Operation fighters intercepted about seven families after one of their cars broke down and attacked and killed some of them and arrested others," HRW quoted the relatives of Ganfouda families who fled the district as saying. Meanwhile, many political and social entities in Libya and overseas had condemned the inhumane crimes committed by Haftar's forces in Benghazi during and after the evacuation of the civilian families from Ganfouda by the Benghazi Shura Council fighters, who lost over 20 persons in the operation.

March 22, 2017 15:56 UTC

IOM Director General Visits Tripoli as Crisis Worsens for Libyans and Vulnerable Migrants

Libya - Today (22/03), IOM Director General William Lacy Swing arrived in Tripoli, Libya, to meet with Libyan authorities regarding the complex migration and displacement situation within the country. “As humanitarians, we can no longer turn our back on the communities affected by the current migration crisis in Libya. Due to the situation in the country, many migrants are turning to IOM to help them get home. IOM is launching an Action Plan for Libya to work with the Libyan authorities to address the many challenges faced by migrants, IDPs, returnees and the affected Libyan population. For further information, please contactLeonard Doyle, Tel: +41 79 2857123, Email: , Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email:, or Christine Petré in IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

March 22, 2017 03:00 UTC

Libya: When international law is always behind a war

Such a tribunal should have been an international one considering that the Libyan conflict of 2011 started as a national armed conflict that gradually evolved into an international armed conflict. IHL, the law of war, is and has always been a war behind. There is battle for control of Libya between Fajr Libya, or “Libya Dawn” which controls Tripoli and the internationally recognized Tobruk government. Both conflicts also show the characteristics of national armed conflicts and international armed conflicts. An International Libyan Tribunal was not established to wholesomely deal with both national and international actors who violated IHL principles in Libya.

March 21, 2017 23:03 UTC

Misrata Military Council topples municipality

A number of Misrata institutions overthrew the current Municipal Council of the city on Tuesday, following days of protests against the council’s mismanagement. In a statement read by Chief of Misrata Military Council Colonel Ibrahim Bin Rajab, Misrata Military Council, Union of Revolutionary Fighters, branches of the Municipal Council and Misrata Security Department announced the removal of Municipal Council members after their refusal to sit with the protesters to resolve their differences. Colonel Ibrahim Bin Rajab said the city’s institutions will continue working normally without any contact with the Municipal Council. A new steering committee is expected to be selected to replace the Municipal Council until new elections are held. The Municipal Council has not yet issued any reaction regarding the removal announcement.

March 21, 2017 21:45 UTC

Warnings of a ‘Powder Keg’ in Libya as ISIS Regroups

Advertisement Continue reading the main story“Libya is descending into chaos,” said Brig. “It’s a powder keg.”Libya’s neighbors have rushed to ward off the threat of Islamic fighters seeking safe haven within their borders or trying to recruit their young people to fill its depleted ranks. Advertisement Continue reading the main storyAnd Chad closed its borders with Libya in January, fearing potential terrorist infiltration. The United States is building a $50 million drone base in Agadez, Niger. Advertisement Continue reading the main storyAmerican Special Operations forces and the C.I.A.

March 21, 2017 20:56 UTC

HoR member: Haftar and his forces' chief of staff must resign and be interrogated

The member of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) Jalal Al-Shuwaihdi, said in a statement on his Facebook page Tuesday that after he was the first to support the formation of a military institution that is tasked with securing the Libyans across the country and that made him face terrorist organizations and militias, who used to call themselves revolutionaries. "We had faced them in the media and the demonstrations led by civilian leadership in Benghazi when many people, who are in the front today, were afraid to utter a single word against those organizations."

March 21, 2017 19:52 UTC

News Roundup - Tue, Mar 21, 2017

--------------------------------------------------Werfalla town social council rejected a visit request by the British Ambassador in Libya, Peter Millett, saying the UK is like other world countries that all have agendas to be implemented in Libya. It added that it is a local body and doesn't represent all Libyans, so it is not in its best interest to communicate with foreign countries. --------------------------------------------------Tunisian navy forces at Sfax naval base intercepted a Libyan boat with 11 Egyptian sailors and a Libyan captain. The boat was detained as it entered Tunisia's territorial waters and ventured to fish in there, Tunisian media said, adding that 5 tons of fish were also detained onboard the boat. Tunisian authorities have intercepted many shipping ships lately with goods onboard as they based in transit through Tunisian waters, saying the goods are Chinese and not original.

March 21, 2017 14:03 UTC

Migrant rescues increase on sea route to Italy

Migrant rescues increase on sea route to ItalySome 6,000 migrants have been rescued on the central Mediterranean between North Africa and Italy in the last few days, as greater numbers take that route in warmer weather, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday. The human tide seeking to reach Europe by sea - most of them sub-Saharan Africans - is mainly coming from Libya to Italy, after the deal between the European Union and Turkey a year ago largely shut down that route. "This is typical of spring, getting very busy, but it's not typical to have the numbers be so high this early and the corresponding deaths that go with it." So far this year 16,248 migrants have arrived in Italy, up from 13,825 in the same period last year. Across Europe, 160,331 migrants arrived by sea at this time last year compared to an estimated total of 20,484 arrivals so far this year, which includes those reaching Greece and Spain.

March 21, 2017 13:18 UTC

Libya Eastern Army Forces, A.K.A. Tomb Diggers

Like we see in the movies, heartless and senseless far-fetched imaginary creatures can easily dig up a tomb to take out a body and burn it or eat or even parade it to the mob of monsters or villains waiting outside. But that, we always see in Hollywood and we all fathom that it is not a reality because it is a cinematic trick. However, modeled on seeing too many movies than one should, the self-proclaimed Khalifa Haftar-led Libyan army in eastern Libya did what the human mind has for long thought was a stunt in a movie just two days ago. The second move the villains did in the conquered good land is parading a dead body they dug up from Ganfouda for an opponent leader called Jalal Al-Makhzoum. After that, they found a golden chance to prove their skills to their director (leader of the eastern army Khalifa Haftar) and thus they wasted no time and split in evil-doing groups.

March 21, 2017 12:22 UTC

Britain Libya policy likely to change

Britain Libya policy likely to changeSharelinesImportant potential changes in British policy towards Libya may be afoot. Libya is the number one target and CMEC wants Britain to be with the winner: Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar. Haftar represents the large degree of order and governance that exists in eastern Libya today. Western Libya, particularly Tripoli itself, is dominated by warlords and criminal gangs even Italian Mafia; they all have an interest in prolonging the relative confusion in the west. In the past few months, hundreds of migrants have drowned or died due to western Libya’s lawlessness.

March 21, 2017 11:46 UTC

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