Friday 20 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 01/25/18)
The United Nations demanded Thursday the immediate surrender of a Benghazi commander wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges after evidence emerged suggesting he had carried out new summary executions in Libya. Mahmoud al-Werfalli commands the Al-Saiqa Brigade based in Libya's second city and is loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar whose forces dominate the east of the North African country. When the ICC issued a warrant for Werfalli's arrest last August over summary executions in which at least 33 people were killed in 2016 and 2017, Haftar's forces insisted he was in their custody and would face a military trial.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/25/18)
TUNIS (Reuters) - The United Nations Libya mission said it was alarmed by reports of “brutal and outrageous summary executions” in the eastern city of Benghazi on Wednesday, after pictures emerged appearing to show at least nine people being shot dead at the site of a twin car bombing. The U.N. Libya mission, UNSMIL, suggested in a tweet that the gunman was Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a special forces commander wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly carrying out a number of similar killings. “(The U.N.) demands the handing over of Mahmoud al-Werfalli immediately to (the ICC) as it documented at least 5 similar cases, in 2017 alone, carried out or ordered by al-Werfalli,” UNSMIL said on its Twitter account...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
More than 30 people were dead and dozens wounded after two car bombings outside a mosque frequented by jihadist opponents in Libya's second city Benghazi, medical officials said Wednesday. The attack after evening prayers on Tuesday underlined the continued chaos in Libya, which has been wracked by violence and divisions since dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising. Benghazi has been relatively calm since military strongman Khalifa Haftar announced the eastern city's "liberation" from jihadists in July last year after a three-year campaign, but sporadic violence has continued. The bombers blew up two cars 30 minutes apart outside the mosque...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/24/18)
BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - The toll from a twin car bombing at a mosque in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi rose to 35 on Wednesday, medics said, one of the highest from a single attack since Libya slid into turmoil after a 2011 uprising. The first blast on Tuesday evening hit worshippers leaving the large Bayaat al-Radwan mosque in Benghazi’s central Al Salmani district. The second, which witnesses said came about 15 minutes later and was much stronger, inflicted a high number of casualties among people who had gathered at the scene of the first blast. On Wednesday, the site of the bombings was strewn with scraps of clothing and victims’ possessions, and the stench of blood hung in...
(AFP (eng) 01/24/18)
An armed group loyal to Libya's national unity government said Wednesday it had arrested a gang accused of kidnapping and torturing Sudanese migrants near the northern city of Sirte. The gang, made up of "five Libyans and one Palestinian... had tortured eight migrants," said the Sirte Security and Protection Force, one of several that took part in the unity government's battle to oust the Islamic State group from Sirte last year. The migrants are being treated at the Ibn Sina Hospital in Sirte, 450 kilometres (280 miles) east of Tripoli, it said. The arrests took place in Qaddahiya, a village south of Sirte, "after the publication of a video on social media showing scenes of African migrants undergoing unbearable torture",...
(Xinhuanet 01/24/18)
Two car bombs exploded in Salmani district of the eastern Libyan city Benghazi on Tuesday, killing and injuring several people, according to the Libyan news agency. The first car bomb exploded in front of a mosque, as worshipers exited the mosque after the night prayer, the agency reported. Following the arrival of ambulances, a second car bomb exploded in the same location. The two explosions killed and injured several people and caused large damage. Fadia Al-Barghathi, official of the Information Office of Al-Jalaa Hospital in Benghazi, said that "the first explosion killed four people and injured three others." "The victims of the second explosion have not been counted yet. The final number of victims of the blast will be presented...
(Xinhuanet 01/24/18)
The Ethiopian government said Wednesday that 21 of its nationals were repatriated from Libya. Meles Alem, spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told Xinhua that the 21 Ethiopians arrived in the capital city, Addis Ababa, on Wednesday as part of the first round of the Ethiopian government's effort to repatriate its citizens from the North African nation. According to the ministry, procedures for the repatriation of the second batch of 45 Ethiopian migrants from Libya is underway. Ethiopia is conducting the repatriation process in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The exact number of Ethiopians who are stranded in Libya is yet to be identified. Hundreds of thousands of African migrants, including Ethiopians, have in recent...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/22/18)
KLEINARL, Austria (Reuters) - The chilly conditions on an Austrian mountainside belied the warm reception given to people from 15 African countries who took part in an annual luge race aimed at helping migrants integrate into European society. The event over the weekend, dubbed the African Winter Sports Cup, is a luge race contested by people with little or no experience of winter sports. Its aim, over the six years it has been held, is to promote social integration through sport, organizers said. The countries represented included Nigeria, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan. Some of the people taking part had come to Europe as asylum seekers while others were born on the continent. “We are all human, we have...
(AFP (eng) 01/20/18)
The airport serving the Libyan capital resumed flights on Saturday following a five-day suspension after deadly clashes around the facility that also damaged planes on the tarmac. Lotfi Khalil, the director general of Mitiga airport on the eastern outskirts of Tripoli, said services resumed with Buraq Air flying to the eastern city of Tobruk and Libyan Airlines leaving for Tunis. One local carrier, state-owned Afriqiyah Airways, however, has yet to resume operations because its planes were damaged in Monday's fighting in which at least 20 people were killed, he told AFP.
(AFP (eng) 01/19/18)
US Ambassador Nikki Haley expressed regret on Thursday to African ambassadors who were outraged by President Donald Trump's alleged description of African countries as "shithole" nations, the head of the African Group said. Haley asked to meet the African ambassadors at the United Nations after they released a joint statement on Friday demanding an apology from Trump for his "outrageous, racist and xenophobic remarks." Ambassador Anatolio Ndong Mba of Equatorial Guinea, who chairs the Africa Group, said the US ambassador did not offer an apology during the closed-door meeting, but she did express regret. Haley told the meeting that "she was not there at the White House, she is not sure what was said, but she regretted all this situation...
(AFP (eng) 01/18/18)
A three-month old baby has died after being picked up by rescuers at sea off Libya, because bad weather and a lack of boats made a medical evacuation impossible, aid organisations said Thursday. Over 1,650 migrants have been rescued in the Mediterranean since Tuesday, including many women and children. While some were brought to land Thursday, hundreds of others could be trapped for days yet by stormy seas. The Proactiva Open Arms and Sea Watch 3, which have plucked over 700 people from unseaworthy vessels between them, are too small to attempt the rough crossing back towards Italy with that number of people aboard. They are currently being forced to take shelter off the coast of Tunisia until the weather...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/18/18)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - The only functioning airport in Libya’s capital Tripoli remained shut for a third day on Wednesday after fierce clashes between armed groups damaged planes belonging to all four of the airlines that operate there. The fighting erupted on Monday after one of the city’s many armed groups launched an attack at Mitiga Airport in an apparent effort to secure the release of prisoners held in an adjacent prison. At least 20 people were killed and 60 wounded. “Mitiga’s air space remains closed and it is up to the authorities to decide when it will be reopened,” the airport administration said in a short statement on Wednesday. Petro Air, which operates flights to Libyan oil fields, also said...
(AFP (eng) 01/17/18)
There's nothing covert about Roxy -- a huge market in Abidjan selling counterfeit medicine, the scourge of Africa and the cause of around 100,000 deaths annually on the world's poorest continent. Located in the bustling Adjame quarter of Ivory Coast's main city and commercial hub, the haven for fake medicine has been targeted time and again by authorities and stockpiles burnt. But it resurfaces every time. "The police hassle us but they themselves buy these medicines," said Mariam, one of the many mainly illiterate vendors who hawk everything from painkillers and antibiotics to anti-malaria and anti-retroviral treatments. "When we are harassed we always come to an arrangement with them to resume our activities," she said. Fatima, another hawker, said: "Many...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
The Libyan capital's only working international airport remained closed to flights on Tuesday, the airport said, a day after fighting killed at least 20 people and damaged several planes. Mitiga airport said in a statement that all scheduled flights had been rerouted through the western city of Misrata. Mitiga airport, a former military air base on the eastern fringes of Tripoli, was evacuated on Monday after militiamen attacked it in an attempt to free colleagues held at a jail there. The health ministry of Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) said 20 people were killed and 63 wounded in the clashes. It did not specify if the casualties were civilians or fighters. Five aircraft belonging to state-owned Afriqiyah Airways,...
(AFP (eng) 01/16/18)
Fighting at the Libyan capital's only working international airport killed at least 20 people Monday, officials said, after militiamen attacked it in an attempt to free colleagues held at a jail there. Mitiga airport, a former military air base on the eastern outskirts of the capital, was evacuated when the clashes erupted and roads to the facility were closed. Six Libyan aircraft on the tarmac were hit by gunfire, an airport source said. In an updated casualty toll, the health ministry of Libya's UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) said 20 people were killed and 63 wounded in the clashes. It did not specify if the casualties were civilians or fighters.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/16/18)
TRIPOLI/TUNIS (Reuters) - Fierce clashes broke out in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Monday, killing at least 20 people, shutting the airport, and damaging planes during what the government said was a failed attempt to spring militants from a nearby prison. The attack triggered the heaviest fighting in Tripoli for months, undercutting claims by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) to have largely stabilised the city. The violence also undermines GNA efforts to persuade diplomatic missions to return there. Automatic gunfire and artillery rounds could be heard from the city centre early in the day and authorities at Mitiga airport, which operates all civilian air traffic to and from the capital, said flights had been suspended until further...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/16/18)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - An Airbus A319 passenger jet belonging to Libya’s Afriqiyah Airways was damaged by artillery fire during clashes between rival armed groups at Tripoli’s Mitiga airport on Monday. A Reuters reporter saw the plane, which was empty at the time it was hit, sitting in a hangar with a hole in its roof. Two other passenger jets operated by Libyan Wings airline suffered minor damage from gunfire during the clashes, which caused the airport to shut earlier on Monday. Several planes were being flown across the city to Tripoli international airport - which has been closed since 2014 - to protect them from damage.
(Reuters (Eng) 01/15/18)
TRIPOLI/TUNIS (Reuters) - Heavy clashes broke out in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Monday, leaving at least 10 people dead and shutting the airport during what the government said was an attempt to spring militants from a nearby prison. The attack triggered the heaviest fighting in Tripoli for months, undercutting claims by the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) to have largely stabilized the city. It also undermines GNA efforts to persuade diplomatic missions to return. Automatic gunfire and artillery rounds could be heard from the city center early in the day and Mitiga airport, which operates all civilian air traffic to and from the capital, said flights had been suspended until further notice. The fighting pitted the Special...
(AFP (eng) 01/15/18)
Fierce fighting forced the closure of the Libyan capital's only civilian airport on Monday, officials said, after a militia in charge of security there said it had been attacked. The Facebook page of Mitiga International Airport, in eastern Tripoli, said "flights have been suspended because of fighting that broke out this morning". Al-Radaa, a force loyal to the UN-backed Libyan government and tasked with keeping the facility secure, said in a statement it had come under attack. An armed group "has attacked Mitiga international airport... which is home to a prison where more than 2,500 people are detained for various" reasons, Al-Radaa said on Facebook. Fighters attacked in a bid "to free" some of its members detained there, it added,...
(AFP (eng) 01/12/18)
The United Nations' political chief held talks on Thursday with the head of Libya's parliament about elections to be held under a UN plan to stabilise the strife-ridden country. Jeffrey Feltman, who is on a tour of Libya and Tunisia, travelled to the eastern town of Al-Qobba where the parliament is based for the meeting with speaker Aguila Saleh. "The meeting, attended by the UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame, focused on the elections scheduled for this year," said parliament spokesman Abdallah Bleheq. The elections "should meet the expectations of the people and appease the various political actors", he told AFP. A 2015 UN-brokered deal that saw the establishment of a Government of National Accord was meant to calm years...

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