Russian vessel seized in Libyan waters

Libyan Coast Guard, Zawiya Squad, intercepted on Sunday a Russian vessel in the territorial waters off the country’s western coast. The vessel, MERLE, was sailing to Zuwara Port to load scrap metal to Turkey, a booming illegal trade in Libya. 7 crewmembers from Russia were arrested on board the vessel without entry permission from Libyan authroites. The vessel and the crewmembers were handed over to Tripoli-based Special Deterrence Force for investigation.

March 08, 2017 09:56 UTC

171 fresh deportees from Libya arrive Lagos airport

171 fresh deportees from Libya arrive Lagos airportThe third batch of Nigerians numbering 171 deported from Libya yesterday arrived the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos aboard an aircraft operated by Buraq Air with registration no TNSIB UZ/89/190. They looked joyous for being able to make it back to Nigeria after the harrowing experience they had in Libya. She however advised the young girls to avoid the dangerous journey across the dessert in search of greener pasture. She disclosed to Vanguardthat she decided to undertake the dangerous journey to Europe because she could not get a job here in Nigeria. But because I could not get a job here in Nigeria I decided to go abroad not minding the danger involved.

March 08, 2017 07:00 UTC

22 migrants killed, 100 injured as smugglers battle for supremacy in Libya’s power vacuum

A total of 22 migrants have been killed and some 100 injured in fighting between rival smuggler gangs in Libya so far this year. This comes at a time when seaborne migration from Africa to Italy has risen by 50 percent so far in 2017. “The dead were thought to be migrants rather than smugglers because they were sub-Saharan Africans,” he added. With Gaddafi gone, a power vacuum developed, and Libya quickly split into two with the Tobruk-based parliament and the unity government (NTC) in Tripoli vying for control. To further complicate matters, various militant groups, including the Islamic State (IS, former ISIS/ISIL), began carving out their own fiefdoms in violent power plays across the war-torn countryside.

March 07, 2017 23:37 UTC

HoR Speaker proposes presidential, parliamentary elections in 2018

The media advisor of the Speaker of the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) Fathi Al-Maryami told the pro-Al-Thanni-chaired government Libyan News Agency that Aqilah Saleh informed the High National Elections Commission (HNEC) of his desire to hold parliamentary and presidential elections before February 2018. "All must get ready for these elections as Libyans are now considerably need a president and an HoR to represent them." The country descended into political chaos right after the elections of the House of Representatives in 2014. The committee proposed a new legislature, the House of Representatives HoR, which was elected in June 2014. In November 2014, Libya's Supreme Court dissolved the House of Representatives, stating that June elections of the parliament were invalid.

March 07, 2017 20:26 UTC

171 Nigerians return from Libya (Photos)

171 Nigerians return from Libya (Photos)A total of 171 Nigerians, comprising 95 females, including 12 girls, and 76 males, returned to the country from Libya on Tuesday. Last week, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, senior special assistant to the president on foreign affairs and diaspora, had said 180 Nigerians were being expected. Three-hundred and- fourteen Nigerians have been forced to return to the country within two weeks, as a result of the harrowing experience in Libya. “When I got to Libya, it was not in my mind to continue with the journey. If we don’t want to work, they will start maltreating us.

March 07, 2017 20:02 UTC

Trump bans Libyans from entering the US in new travel restriction order

The US President, Donald Trump, signed Monday a new executive order banning six Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the US starting after 10 coming days. The new travel ban on Muslims kept Libya on the list with Iran, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan. Libyans will be directly affected by the ban and obtaining visa to enter the states will be hindered for all of them ten days ahead. An earlier ban which affected 7 countries was suspended by a federal judge, the result of which is the current one. The ban is expected to cause a lot of fuss for many Libyans who frequent the US for study, business and other issues.

March 07, 2017 19:30 UTC

Tobruk parliament ‘halts dialogue with Tripoli’

Cairo, March 8 (IANS/AKI) The Tobruk-based parliament in eastern Libya on Tuesday opted to suspend dialogue with the United Nations backed unity government of Fayez al-Seraj and the 2015 accord that created it, news site Al-Wasat reported. The move came after clashes between rival armed groups in recent days in Libya’s oil crescent that were condemned by the US, France and Britain. The Benghazi Defence Brigades, a militia group, captured the ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf in an offensive that began on March 3. The ports had been under the control of eastern-based military commander Khalifa Haftar, who is allied to the administration in Tobruk. Over five years after the ousting of late Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi, the country remains regionally split with rival governments and a myriad of rival armed groups which they are unable to control.

March 07, 2017 18:45 UTC

Petroleum Facilities Guard takes over oil ports from BDB

Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) of UN-proposed Presidency Council took control of Ras Lanuf and Sidra oil ports from Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) on Tuesday. He said his forces will stay far away from the political conflict and their mission is to protect the oil ports and fields in coordination with the National Oil Corporation. Ras Lanuf and Sidra oil ports were retaken from Dignity Operation forces on Friday. “We don’t have any interest in controlling the oil ports, we only wanted to expel Haftar’s militias and his mercenaries from them and hand them over to the Petroleum Facilities Guard,” a statement by Benghazi Defense Brigades said today. Reacting to the takeover, the Italian Embassy in Tripoli said the deployment of PFG forces in the oil crescent region is a step in the right direction.

March 07, 2017 18:22 UTC

Libya’s eastern parliament quits UN peace deal with Tripoli

Libya's eastern parliament has voted to withdraw its support for a United Nations peace deal and Government of National Accord, stoking concerns that recent violence in the fractured country could escalate. Abdullah Ablaihig, spokesman for the Tobruk-based, internationally recognized House of Representatives, said the body voted Tuesday to reject all agreements with the U.N.-backed government led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj in Tripoli. The body called on all Libyan parties to condemn ...

March 07, 2017 15:56 UTC

News Roundup - Tue, Mar 07, 2017

‎In a joint statement on Monday, the Ambassadors recalled the urgent need for a unified national military force under civilian command in order to preserve the security and prosperity of all Libyans. -----------------------------------------Derna Shura Council released a video on Monday showing their forces just near the exterior walls of Jamal Abdul-Nasir Airbase in Tobruk. Mohammed Al-Gosri has denied involvement of their forces in the ongoing military operations in the oil crescent region. -----------------------------------------Tripoli-based Islamic Affairs authority and Libyan Union of Religious Scholars have hailed the “Return to Benghazi” Military Operation launched by Benghazi Defense Brigades on Friday to help Benghazi IDPs to return to their city. -----------------------------------------Oil vessel, Besirimous, left Zuetina oil terminal on Monday after loading oil.

March 07, 2017 15:00 UTC

Dignity Operation plays Al-Qaeda card to frighten international community

The insane-sounding spokesperson of Dignity Operation Ahmed Al-Mismari has claimed that Al-Qaeda members are part of the UN-proposed Presidency Council. In an interview with Russia’s Sputnik News Agency, Al-Mismari accused the internationally recognized Presidency Council of funding Al-Qaeda to launch an attack on Libya’s oil ports. Social media activists have likened him to former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammad Saeed Al-Sahhaf for his unrealistic Al-Qaeda claims and false statements. Dignity Operation and its affiliated media are playing Al-Qaeda card to frighten the international community into supporting Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled army over political opponents. The fabricated Al-Qaeda statement “thanked Libyan Mufti for standing against evil and saying the truth about Haftar, and regarded Khalifa Haftar as a western agent.”

March 07, 2017 09:10 UTC

President signs new executive order limiting immigration

The executive order is scheduled to take effect March 16, affording various government agencies involved have time to prepare in an effort to avoid the chaos that accompanied the initial travel ban. It’s a violation of American values that only damages our national security.”Sen. Mazie Hirono and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard also voiced opposition to Trump’s executive order in statements released Monday. Caballero countered, saying to brand the travel ban as a national security initiative is a strained and inconsistent characterization. “If you connect the dots, it’s very hard to see how this is justified by national security,” Caballero said. The stay of Trump’s first executive order by a federal court allowed those people in question to board planes and return to the state.

March 06, 2017 20:54 UTC

Sudanese rebel movements smuggling weapons into Libya

The spokesman of the Sudanese Army, Brigadier General, Ahmed Khalifa Al-Shami, has revealed information proving some moves by the rebel Sudanese groups in Darfur aiming at smuggling weapons to Libya. Speaking to the press on Monday, Al-Shami said that Darfur Movement in western Sudan is doing business nowadays by working on a large scale in smuggling weapons to Libya. Darfur Movement is comprised of the rebel groups that were constantly beaten by the Sudanese Army, said Brig. The weapons come from Chad, Central Africa and South Sudan and then the Darfur Movement rebels smuggle them to Libya, Al-Shami added, saying that border control patrols inspect cars around the clock and find stolen ones, smuggled ones and even smuggled people inside them, besides the smuggled weapons. It is worth mentioning that eastern forces of Dignity Operation led by Khalifa Haftar are recruiting mercenaries from Chad and Sudan, especially from the Justice and Equality rebel group, to help them in their self-styled war on terrorism.

March 06, 2017 19:48 UTC

BDB forces control region from Nofaliya to Bashir, commander says

Benghazi Defense Brigades (BDB) forces imposed their control over the region from Nofaliya, 127 km east of Sirte, to Bashir town, 90 west of Ajdabiya, BDB commander Brig. Mustafa Al-Shirksi declared on Monday. “We will continue our march towards Benghazi after we hand over all oil ports to the NOC,” Al-Shirksi said. Idriss Saleh Abu Khamada declared on Sunday that his forces will take over oil ports in the coming few days. Al-Shirksi indicated that the goal of their operation is to help Benghazi IDPs to return home after years of displacement, refuting Dignity Operation claims of Al-Qaeda.

March 06, 2017 18:48 UTC

Sirte Oil says operations are normal

Sirte Oil and Gas Company said operations at its oil fields and ports are normal. The company refuted on its official Facebook page claims of offices evacuation due to the ongoing clashes in the oil crescent region, confirming the claims are baseless.

March 06, 2017 17:03 UTC

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