Dignity Operation accuses dozens of military officers of treason

More than 42 officers from the Air Defense Base in Rajma village in east Benghazi have been arrested by Dignity Operation militias on charges of treason. Identical reports said the military officers have been jailed in Kwafiya Military Prison, while 4 of them were executed immediately. The center reported that a militiaman loyal to Dignity Operation called Ahmed Garoor stormed the hotel with force and took the two military officers to an unknown place. It added that the city is under a campaign of mass arrests of opponents to Dignity Operation. While Qatarni remains under tribal protection, it demanded in a statement an investigation into the alleged treason charges, regarding them as an attempt to slander the tribesman.

February 06, 2017 16:32 UTC

The Latest: 500 Migrants on Way to Europe Rescued off Libya

The Latest on Europe's migration influx (all times local): 4:30 p.m. Spain's defense ministry says one of its frigates has rescued almost 500 people from a wooden boat off the Libyan coast as it headed slowly north toward Europe. Authorities say that among the 494 rescued Sunday were 18 women and eight children. A defense ministry statement on Monday says that the frigate provided those rescued with food and medical treatment before Spanish sailors destroyed the boat to stop it being used...

February 06, 2017 15:22 UTC

After EU summit, critics unhappy about pushback plan for the EU’s election year

Here even police and solders are reliant on smuggling.But Niger is now one of the EU’s five ‘priority partnership countries’, expecting some €610 million in development aid. It also hosts an EU Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) field office in Agadez, which provides local security forces with equipment and training.In November, the IOM – which monitors the transit in Agadez – saw the traffic drop from 72,000 in May 2016, to 12,000 in November. This was the kind of “concrete progress” the EU was waiting for But the real result was that migrants and smugglers were choosing alternatives to the routes: some more dangerous, leading to new anecdotal evidence of increased deaths in the desert.Now, by going ahead with the Malta plan, the EU leaders have all but declared Libya a safe third country. People fear that migration may change society as they know it.So far, the response of EU leaders has been disjointed and in order to keep the populists and far-right parties away from the seats of power, parties in government and mainstream parties want to keep asylum seekers away from the gates of Europe.Merkel’s decision to welcome more than one million asylum seekers in 2015 alone came back to haunt her party electorally, with the far-right AfD making significant inroads in last year’s regional elections.This has led to Merkel taking a more hawkish stand and other mainstream European leaders have followed suit.There is no easy solution to dealing with migration, especially as the situation in the Middle East and developing countries in Africa and Asia. However, as the UNHCR, IOM and many others have warned, disregarding human rights and striking deals with unstable and authoritarian regimes should not be used to win elections.The rise of anti-European nationalism will not be washed away by EU declarations of intent, as long as inequalities exist asylum seekers will find new ways of entering Europe.

February 06, 2017 07:52 UTC

Libyan coastguards rescue over 1000 migrants in a week

The spokesman for the Libyan Navy, Ayoub Qasim, said the Libyan coastguards rescued more than 1200 illegal immigrants off Sabratha shores in a week. He explained that the Libyan coastguards intercepted four dinghies, on board of which, there were 431 illegal migrants off Sabratha shores last Thursday.

February 05, 2017 16:38 UTC

News Roundup - Sun, Feb 05, 2017

_____________________The spokesman for the Libyan Navy, Ayoub Qasim, said the Libyan coastguards rescued more than 1200 illegal immigrants off Sabratha shores in a week. A spokesman for the Education /ministry, Ramadan Al-Ghadwi, said the first, second and third graders will continue their studies during the exams. ____________________Wife of the journalist Mohammed Salim, confirmed that he was kidnapped from in front of his house on Sunday in Sabha. Sabha local, Salim, has worked for the Libyan TV and Radio Channel since the late 1970s. ____________________France has sent a shipment of medicines and medical aid to Benghazi Medical Center (BMC).

February 05, 2017 15:33 UTC

Libyan coastguard intercepts 1,131 asylum-seekers

At least 1,131 asylum-seekers from various sub-Saharan countries intercepted by Libya coastguard over the course of a weekAt least 1,131 asylum-seekers were intercepted by Libya’s coast guard bear the western city of Sabratha over the course of a week, a spokesman said.Ayoub Qassem said 431 migrants had been intercepted on four inflatable boats off Sabratha's coast on Thursday and some 700 had been picked up on January 27 from three wooden vessels in the same area. "The illegal migrants are from various sub-Saharan countries and include a big number of women and children," Qassem said of those intercepted on Thursday.Those intercepted on Jan. 27 also included migrants from Syria, Tunisia, Libya and the Palestinian territories, he said, and smugglers had attempted to block the coast guards from taking those migrants from their boats.“Smugglers had tried to foil the process of arrest by opening fire on our coast guards but the coast guards fired back and that forced the smugglers to withdraw,” he said.The interception by Libya’s coast guard comes just days after the Italian navy rescued 1,400 people off the coast of the war-torn country. On Friday, Italy and Libya signed a memorandum of understanding to combat illegal migration and human trafficking in the Mediterranean. The agreement, which the European Union is supporting, is aimed at stemming the migratory flows from the country.However, despite Prime Minister Joseph Muscat describing the deal as “the first real pragmatic step” to stem the migratory flows, aid groups criticised the move saying such plans exposed migrants to further risks and abuses in a country on the brink of being a failed state and with dire human rights conditions.Libya has become the main point of departure for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean by boat to Europe since a route between Turkey and Greece was largely closed off last year.People smugglers generally operate with impunity, launching migrants in flimsy vessels that sometimes break down or sink before they are spotted by rescue boats operated by an EU naval mission and by non-government organizations. More than 4,500 died attempting the crossing last year.Libya's coastguard sends migrants back to detention centres that rights groups have criticized for their inhumane conditions and widespread abuses.

February 05, 2017 15:00 UTC

Muscat: Libya deal addresses people's migration concerns

“We got one of the best auditing agencies to estimate the value of the land. “Those who have no arguments to make must rely on dividing and provoking their opposition. ""My promise is that over the coming months the government will not descend to this level. We speak on the level of those who have aspirations and who are fed up with the politics of division. We want to speak to those who want to work towards solutions,” he continued.

February 05, 2017 11:08 UTC

Renegade General Khalifa Haftar wants to rule Libya and rejects dialogue with rivals - Newspaper

Khaifa Haftar has told the French Ambassador in Libya Brigitte Curmi that he intends to take power in Libya and that he is not ready to engage in a dialogue with his rivals, London-based Alhayat newspaper reported on Friday. The newspaper said that Ambassador Curmi advised Haftar to sit with his rivals and not use weapons to claim power, but he refused. "If you use weapons, you will differ with France and the EU and you will fail," Ambassador Curmi told Haftar, according to the newspaper. Renegade General Khalifa Haftar, who runs a self-styled army, is regarded by many politicians and observers as one of the key reasons of Libya's dilemma. Last October, Libyan Army personnel in western Libya declared Khalifa Haftar a war criminal for the atrocities he is committing in Benghazi.

February 04, 2017 19:52 UTC

Gharyan opposes military rule, clings to 17 February constants

Gharyan municipality said Thursday that both military and civilian institutions in the city agreed on holding dear to the constants and principles of the 17 February revolution, rejecting the return of military rule in the country. “The agreement that was struck among military and security brigades as well as civil societies and social activists plus the municipality clarified that the city opposes foreign intervention in Libya’s affairs, holding to its sovereignty and unity.” The municipality's statement adds.

February 04, 2017 18:11 UTC

Libya halts more than 400 migrants bound for Europe

Libya's coast guard said today it intercepted more than 400 African migrants attempting to reach Europe, a day after EU leaders agreed on moves to curb mass migration from the country. "The migrants are of different African nationalities and there are a great deal of women and children among them," he said. Around 230 people have died en route to Europe since the start of 2017, according to the United Nations. European Union leaders meeting Friday in Malta approved a new strategy to "break the business model" of traffickers who helped 181,000 mainly African migrants enter the EU via Libya and Italy last year. The plan includes funding and training Libya's coast guard to make it better able to intercept migrant boats and helping neighbouring countries to close routes into Libya, according to a draft statement seen by AFP.

February 04, 2017 15:00 UTC

The European Union tries to prevent a wave of migrants from Libya

ALTHOUGH he was not there, it was hard to escape Donald Trump at the European Union’s latest summit. The EU is now attempting to implement a version of the EU-Turkey deal in Libya in order to stem the tide. The plan might not just fail to prevent emigration; it could also make life more miserable for thousands of migrants. Indeed, the EU’s plan to bottle up migrants in Libya is reminiscent of the deal Silvio Berlusconi cut with Muammar Qaddafi, the former Libyan dictator, to do the same. Such deliberation over migration policy is preferable to the angry rashness Mr Trump has shown in his first weeks in office.

February 04, 2017 14:03 UTC

Doctors Without Borders blast 'delusional' EU leaders over new migrant deal with Libya

Additional funds would be given to local communities in Libya “to improve their situation, and help them shelter stranded migrants,” he said. GETTY Doctors Without Borders say the EU deal with Libya is 'delusional'“We will train, equip and support the Libyan coastguard to stop people smugglers and increase search and rescue operations. “We will deliver economic assistance to local communities in Libya to improve their situation, and help them shelter stranded migrants. “Blocking people there is a mockery of EU values of human dignity and the rule of law.”Libya is not a safe place. Blocking people there makes a mockery of EU values of human dignity and the rule of law pic.twitter.com/Q1OAzLUgRZ — Arjan Hehenkamp (@Arjan_Hehenkamp) February 3, 2017

February 04, 2017 10:41 UTC

PN welcomes EU’s migration plan: ‘Translate words into action’

Welcoming the EU’s plan to cut the Libyan migrant route into Europe, the Nationalist Party argues that the strategy can only succeed with a functioning Libyan state as partnerThe Nationalist Party has welcomed the agreement reached by the 28 leaders of the European Union to try and cut off the migratory route from Libya into Europe, through a deal signed between the North African country and Italy and the disbursement of €200 million from the EU.Libya's UN-backed government will receive €200 million including funding to reinforce its coastguard.Despite Libya being on the brink of becoming a failed state, with the UN-backed Government of National Accord failing to hold effective power on ground, the EU hopes Libya will be better able to disrupt people-smuggling networks and turn back migrant boats.Many human rights groups have voiced concern at the EU’s strategy, reminding leaders that asylum seekers and refugees are repeatedly tortured, abused and exploited in Libya.“Yesterday's summit in Malta is to be welcomed, but it must be more than just another 10-point plan. It is high time that words are translated into concrete action,” the Nationalist Party said on Saturday morning.The Maltese Opposition cautioned the governments in not giving citizens the impression that the plan can solve everything.“Things will not change from one day to the next and EU leaders must be careful not to give the impression that any newly issued 10-point plan will provide a quick-fix solution in addressing migration flows from Libya. We have been here before and previous plans have yielded little results,” it said.According to Rome, it was Libyan prime minister Fayez al-Serraj who requested Italy’s assistance in helping to monitor its land and sea borders. But the situation in Libya remains precarious at present.“The EU must stand ready to help be part of the solution. It has a crucial role in helping with aid and expertise in helping Libya to build up their border management, their asylum systems, improve their law enforcement capabilities and help in its fight against terrorism.”With elections round the corner in key European countries like Germany, France and the Netherlands, incumbent leaders want to fend off an increasing Eurosceptic electorate demanding action on irregular migration.

February 04, 2017 09:45 UTC

New EU deal to curb migration via Mediterranean is likely to make matters worse – MSF to RT

EU leaders have adopted a declaration which is set to stem illegal immigration into the bloc from Libya and neighboring countries via the Mediterranean. An MSF representative has told RT the deal is likely to exacerbate the problem. The paper in question was agreed during an informal EU heads of state meeting in Malta’s capital Valetta. Speaking to RT, Arjan Hehenkamp, who is MSF’s General Director for the operation center in Amsterdam, said the measures are likely to make matters even worse. Last year, the EU managed to significantly reduce the 2015 influx of refugees by striking a deal with Turkey who agreed to block the migrants from entering into Europe.

February 03, 2017 21:45 UTC

[WATCH] Muscat adamant Libya deal is the right step: ‘Our first decent shot’

Human rights organisations have accused Europe of abandoning humanitarian values but Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is adamant that the Libya deal is the way to goJoseph Muscat: 'First decent shot at tackling migration'Joseph Muscat: 'First decent shot at tackling migration'Patients tell us that in Libya migrants are starving/harassed/abused. The last thing they need is the EU & Italy to join the predator's list pic.twitter.com/EdBAyUwegJ — MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) February 3, 2017The agreement which Italy reached with Libya, and which the European Union is supporting, is the “one first decent shot at trying to get proper management of migratory flows in the Central Mediterranean” route, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said today.In a press briefing with Maltese journalists late this evening, Muscat and European Council President Donald Tusk reiterated that today’s agreement “may be the first real pragmatic step” to stem the migratory flows from Libya.Only yesterday, the Italian navy rescued 1,400 people off the Libyan coast.With Libya on the brink of being a failed state, with dire human rights conditions, Muscat insisted that the “significant problems” which the North African country faced, “are not reason enough to abandon them, but a reason to engage even more”.The Italy-Libya agreement was also endorsed by the Libyan Presidential Council, which the Maltese Prime Minister insisted was a significant milestone.Muscat went on to add that the next step would be introducing humanitarian corridors allowing asylum seekers and refugees to enter Europe legally without risking their lives.Muscat said that Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni had informed EU leaders that Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj also “signaled an evolving political discussion in Libya, which involves Libyan National Army General Khalif Haftar”.Muscat insisted that one should recognize the courage mastered by al-Serraj in requesting assistance to help Libya patrol its sea and land borders.“This is not a foreign intervention,” he added.Citing bad conditions in reception camps and continuing dangers faced by migrations, human rights organisations have accused the EU of making Libya seem safe and abandoning humanitarian values. "Libya is not a safe place and blocking people in the country or returning them to Libya makes a mockery of the EU's so-called fundamental values of human dignity and rule of law," the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres said.“Patients tell us that in Libya, migrants are starving, harassed and abused… the last thing they need is the EU and Italy to join the predators’ list.”Amnesty International said that the agreement would cause "horrendous suffering".Asked whether they could guarantee that Libya was a stable country in which the rule of law is upheld, Muscat replied: “I can guarantee that if the situation remains as is, we will have another humanitarian crises; fingers will be pointed at the EU for not doing anything; people will still die and they will still be held in camps. People will die in the desert and criminals paid.“The only guarantee is the one first decent shot at trying to get a proper management of migratory flows in the Central Mediterranean route.”Tusk added: “It’s obvious that Libya is not a stable state but this agreement, and efforts, is to help reestablish stability.”

February 03, 2017 20:22 UTC

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