Sunday 22 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Fighting between tribes in southern Libya on Tuesday killed three people and wounded 20, medics said, in the latest flare-up in over a month of clashes. The violence has rocked the town of Sebha, some 600 kilometres (370 miles) south of Tripoli, where tribal rivalries have frequently spilt over into bloodshed. The Sebha Medical Centre wrote on social media that three civilians, including a young girl, were killed after a two-day lull in fighting. The latest clashes in the marginalised Fezzan region -- known for its smuggling routes -- have see the Arab Awlad Suleiman tribe pitted against the Tubus. The UN said Thursday that it was "deeply concerned" by the escalation in fighting that had left at least six...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
More than 20 African migrants were missing and feared drowned Tuesday after scores of people seeking to reach Italy were rescued from unseaworthy boats off the Libyan coast, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday. A Cypriot merchant ship picked up 72 migrants in international waters on Saturday, 30 of whom had left Libya on a wooden boat and 42 others from a rubber dinghy. They were then handed over to the Aquarius humanitarian ship chartered by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The IOM said that after arriving at the port of Pozzallo in Sicily on Tuesday, the survivors from the first group told them that 21 people travelling with them had been lost at sea. "People...
(AFP (eng) 03/05/18)
The Tajoura migrant camp on the edge of Libya's Tripoli was the scene of a clash between lions: teams of Cameroonian and Senegalese footballers whose dream is to play in Europe. The Indomitable Lions and the Lions of Teranga took their names from those of their national teams, but the match had little of the atmosphere of African sports events. Played on a sandy pitch marked out by a low white wall, in front of a prison building, its only spectators were two prison guards. The teams had been thrown together, their players selected from among 500 inmates who have languished in detention for months. The luckiest players had shoes, but others tread the makeshift stadium in their socks. Flourescent...
(AFP (eng) 03/02/18)
At least six civilians have been killed in clashes between rival tribes in the south of Libya that saw a hospital get hit repeatedly, the United Nations said Thursday. The violence over the past month in the southern town of Sebha, some 600 kilometres (370 miles) from Tripoli, is the latest flare-up in a region regularly wracked by tribal violence. The UN mission in Libya said on Twitter that it was "deeply concerned by the escalation of armed conflict in Libya's Sebha, where at least 6 civilians killed and 9 injured." "The hospital was hit repeatedly. Indiscriminate use of weapons in densely populated areas must be stopped." A spokesman for Sebha hospital, Oussama al-Wafi, told AFP that a girl of...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/18)
The Islamic State group on Thursday claimed a suicide car bomb attack in central Libya against the forces of strongman Khalifa Haftar, a day after it killed three militiamen. The attack Wednesday in the Waddan region is the first claimed by the group in the violence-ridden North African country since October. The group's Amaq propaganda arm said in an online statement that the blast at a checkpoint of the "apostate militia of Haftar" was carried out by a suicide bomber. Libya has been gripped by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011...
(AFP (eng) 02/21/18)
Three militiamen from forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar were killed Wednesday in a car bomb attack in the central Waddan region, a militia spokesman said. The blast -- which was not immediately claimed by any group -- wounded two others at a checkpoint on the road leading to Tripoli, some 500 kilometres (310 miles) to the north, said commander Ahmed al-Mesmari. Jihadists from the Islamic State group remain active in central and southern Libya despite being forced out of their northern stronghold Sirte in 2016. Libya has been gripped by chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, with rival administrations and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country. Haftar...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/18)
Libya's coastguard rescued 441 migrants in two separate operations as their boats drifted off the western coast, the navy and a doctor said on Tuesday. Thirty-five women and 16 children were among 324 illegal migrants rescued in one of the operations on Monday with help from a fishing boat, a navy statement said. The migrants, from countries including Chad, Nigeria, Mali and Libya, were drifting in two inflatable boats about seven nautical miles from Zuwara near the Tunisian border after the engines failed, it said. The coastguard also rescued 117 migrants, including five women and two babies, off the coast of Zawiya, west of the capital Tripoli, on Monday, doctor Abdel Aziz al-Misrati of the charity International Medical Corps told...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
Thousands of Libyans on Saturday marked the seventh anniversary of the start of protests that ousted dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with rallies and concerts despite the country's political and economic morass. In the capital Tripoli, and across many cities in the North African country, thousands packed public squares where the authorities were organising concerts and other festivities. Libya descended into chaos after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising, with rival militias, tribes and jihadists vying for influence across the oil-rich country. A 2015 UN-backed deal to set up the unity government in Tripoli was meant to end the turmoil. But Libya has remained riven by divisions between the Government...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between 2015 and 2016," Bukar Tijani, FAO's assistant director general for Africa, said at the regional conference that opened on Monday in Khartoum. "Over the same period, the number of under-nourished rose from 200 million to 224 million in Africa. This...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/18)
Seven years since a revolution that ended four decades of dictatorship under Moamer Kadhafi, Libyans see no end in sight to the North African nation's chaotic transition to democracy. A UN-backed unity government has failed to assert its authority across the oil-rich country, which is still grappling with deadly attacks, a struggling economy and a migration crisis. Authorities in the capital Tripoli have planned celebrations on Saturday to mark the seventh anniversary of the start of protests on February 17, 2011 that led to the toppling and killing of Kadhafi.
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
At least 19 migrants were killed on Wednesday and more than 100 injured when the truck transporting them crashed in Libya, a hospital said. More than 300 migrants, mostly Eritrean and Somali nationals, were on board the vehicle which overturned near the town of Bani Walid. A child was among at least 19 migrants killed in the accident, the head of the town's hospital, Salah al-Mabrouk, told AFP. The hospital, which had earlier given a toll of 23 dead, said at least 124 migrants were injured and it was struggling to cope. "Several victims are even being treated on the ground," said spokesman Salah al-Twijer. Since the 2011 overthrow and killing of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi, chaos-wracked Libya has become...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/14/18)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A truck packed with African migrants crashed near the Libyan town of Bani Walid on Wednesday, leaving at least 19 dead and nearly 80 injured, officials said. Bani Walid hospital manager Mohamed al-Mabrouk said the truck had flipped over about 80 km (50 miles) south of Bani Walid. At least 78 people had been injured, eight of them seriously, he said. “We did not receive the driver (at the hospital), and we don’t know what has happened to him,” said Mabrouk. “Most likely he’s survived otherwise he would be brought here.” Among the victims were Somali and Eritrean nationals, said a military source, who put the death toll at 25. Bani Walid, located south of Tripoli, is...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/14/18)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s supreme court blocked legal challenges from lower courts to a draft constitution on Wednesday, paving the way for a possible referendum on the document and a move toward elections, a lawyer who helped draft the text said. Establishing a constitutional framework is widely seen as a key step in efforts to stabilize Libya after years of anarchy following a 2011 uprising. The oil-rich country has splintered in recent years into local fiefdoms, with competing parliaments and governments set up in the east and west of the country backed by rival armed alliances. The United Nations is hoping that elections can be held by the end of the year. Members of a Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) had...
(AFP (eng) 02/14/18)
Couscous may be the signature dish of North Africa, but steaming plates of the stew-topped semolina are also served up in West Africa and around the Mediterranean. Since 1998 the Italian island of Sicily has been the unlikely host of the couscous-making world championship known as Cous Cous Fest, which bills itself as a "festival of cultural integration". Each September chefs convene on Sicily, whose Mediterranean location opposite Tunisia has made it a cultural crossroads throughout history, battling to be crowned couscous king or queen. Palestinian chefs George Suheil Srour and Elias Bassous won the competition last year, with a couscous topped with grilled sea bream...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
Twin bomb blasts struck a mosque in Benghazi in eastern Libya on Friday, killing at least one person and wounding 149 in the latest attack to target worshippers in the city. The explosions hit the mosque at the start of weekly prayers in Libya's second city, which lies 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) east of Tripoli, a security source told AFP. In the wake of the blasts debris was left scattered across the floor of the mosque, with windows blown out and bloodstains smeared on the wall. The security source said one bomb had been hidden in a coffin in the courtyard of the mosque and another in a shoe cabinet at the entrance. One person was killed and 149 wounded,...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
On a windswept desert plain, displaced families from a town which sided with Libya's leader Moamer Kadhafi before his ouster in a 2011 revolt have been left in a makeshift camp to rue their bad fortune. A last-minute breakdown in a deal to allow their return has left them stranded, within sight of the palm trees of their home town of Tawergha east of the Libyan capital Tripoli and 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the rival town of Misrata. Armed groups from Misrata expelled Tawergha's residents after accusing them of fighting alongside Kadhafi's forces when their town came under a relentless siege during the uprising, as well as accusing them of taking part in torture, rapes and murders. Gunmen from...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/09/18)
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Two people were killed and 55 wounded in a twin bombing inside a mosque in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Friday, medics said. Two weeks ago about 35 people died in another twin bombing at a mosque in Benghazi, the second-largest city in the country. Friday’s explosions occurred during prayers at a small mosque located in the Majouri district, residents said. The devices, placed in bags at the mosque doors, appear to have been activated remotely using a mobile phone, a military source said. Benghazi is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), the dominant force in eastern Libya led by commander Khalifa Haftar. The LNA was battling Islamists, including some linked to Islamic...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
UN envoy Ghassan Salame said Wednesday he hoped for elections in Libya by the end of 2018 but that conditions in the strife-torn country were not yet ready for polling. "There are several conditions. For the time being, we have only achieved one: the start of voter registration," the UN envoy for Libya told a news conference in Tripoli. Last September, Salame submitted an action plan to stabilise Libya centred on holding legislative and presidential elections this year. "All the conditions have not been met," he said, stressing an electoral law still needed to be adopted and the security situation was not ready. "The most important thing is to secure the acceptance of all parties of the election results" ahead...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the interest of China to spy," AU commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said during a visit to Beijing, where he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss deepening cooperation on a variety of issues, as well as opening a...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
A Libyan commander wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges announced he has handed himself in to the allied forces of strongman Khalifa Haftar. Mahmoud al-Werfalli -- who commands the Benghazi-based Al-Saiqa Brigade loyal to Haftar -- has been under an arrest warrant for the past six months over the cold-blooded executions of at least 33 people in 2016 and 2017. Calls for Werfalli to face justice have grown since he was accused of personally shooting dead some 10 jihadist prisoners last month at the scene of a deadly bomb attack on a mosque in Benghazi, Libya's second city. In a video posted on Facebook...

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