Tuesday 27 June 2017
(The Associated Press 05/10/17)
Serbia’s foreign ministry says the country’s ambassador to Libya, Oliver Potezica, has died after a car crash in Tunisia. It said that Potezica, 64, was rushed to a hospital after the crash some days ago near the coastal town of Sousse, but died on Wednesday. No other details were given. In November 2015, gunmen in Libya crashed into a convoy of vehicles taking Potezica to neighboring Tunisia and then kidnapped two Serbian embassy employees. He escaped unharmed along with his wife and two sons. The two Serb hostages died in a U.S. airstrike on an Islamic State camp in February 2016 in western Libya that killed dozens. Serb officials had questioned why the Americans did not appear to know that...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the Indian Ocean, beginning with the kidnapping of a Sri Lankan crew from the Aris 13 oil tanker on March 13th (they were later released without a ransom). Nobody thinks the problem will end until a stable government is restored in...
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
Between 7,000 and 8,000 migrants mostly from sub-Saharan Africa are being held in Libyan detention centres after entering the country illegally, an official said on Tuesday. Abdulrazaq al-Shniti, from the authority to counter illegal immigration, spoke at the opening of a new detention centre in Tajoura, an eastern suburb of the capital Tripoli. The new centre brings the total number of operational migrant detention centres in the country to 23, he said. It already shelters 130 young African migrants, an official there said, after they were detained this week from a nearby warehouse where people
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
Eleven soldiers were killed and 55 wounded on day one of an offensive against jihadist groups in Benghazi, the news agency loyal to the authorities in eastern Libya said Tuesday. Forces loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar on Monday began the attack aimed at ousting jihadists from their final two strongholds in Libya's second city. "There were 11 dead and 55 wounded among the armed forces in different parts of Al-Sabri and the town centre," special forces spokesman Colonel Miloud Zouai told the agency. These forces form part of Haftar's self-proclaimed Libyan National Army. Forces loyal to Haftar
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
The Egyptian air force has destroyed 15 vehicles carrying weapons and ammunition after they illegally crossed into the country from Libya, a military official said on Monday. In a separate announcement, Egypt said its security forces had killed eight militants who were being trained to attack government and Christian targets, in a shootout in the country's southern desert. Army spokesman Colonel Tamer al-Rifai said the armed forces had received "intelligence on a large number of vehicles gathered on the Western border readying to infiltrate" Egypt. "Our planes took off to survey the area and went into action as soon
(AFP (eng) 05/09/17)
The International Criminal Court is considering whether to investigate migrant-related crimes in Libya, which has become a "marketplace" for human trafficking, the chief prosecutor said Monday. Fatou Bensouda told the UN Security Council that her office was collecting evidence of crimes allegedly committed against migrants attempting to transit through Libya. Thousands of vulnerable migrants, including women and children, are being held in detention centers across Libya where "crimes, including killings, rapes and torture, are alleged to be commonplace," she said. Bensouda, a Gambian lawyer and ICC chief prosecutor since 2012, said she was "dismayed by credible accounts that Libya has become a marketplace for the trafficking of human beings".
(Reuters (Eng) 05/09/17)
Libya's neighbors and the United Nations on Monday voiced their support for a meeting held last week between the North African country's main rival figures, the head of the U.N.-backed government, Fayez Seraj, and eastern commander Khalifa Haftar. The two men had held talks in Abu Dhabi, their first in more than a year and a half, over a U.N.-mediated deal that Western powers hope will end the factional fighting that has dominated Libya since the 2011 fall of Muammar Gaddafi. Libya's neighbors and regional powers have often differed on how to advance, with Egypt closer to Haftar and his anti-Islamist militant campaign and Algeria pushing for an inclusive approach including using the influence of Tunisia's moderate Islamist movement. As...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/09/17)
The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor expressed alarm on Monday at the inhumane detention of thousands of vulnerable migrants in Libya and said she was examining whether an investigation could be opened into crimes against them. Libya is the main gateway for migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea. The United Nations migration agency said more than 1,000 migrants have been reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean this year, while an unknown number perish in the desert. According to the International Organization for Migration, 20,000 migrants are held by criminal gangs in irregular detention centers in Libya and growing numbers of migrants are traded in what they call slave markets before being held for ransom, forced labor or sexual...
(Bloomberg 05/09/17)
Libya is pumping the most oil in more than two years as the OPEC member restores output amid progress in mending the nation’s political divisions. The increase adds pressure on the world’s biggest producers who just signaled they may extend production cuts amid a slump in oil. The North African country’s production has reached 796,000 barrels a day, Mustafa Sanalla, the chairman of state producer National Oil Corp., said Monday in a statement. Libya was producing about 700,000 barrels a day at the end of April, Jadalla Alaokali, an NOC board member, said at the time. A revival in Libyan output adds to the challenge that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major producers face after agreeing last...
(AFP (eng) 05/08/17)
Forces loyal to Libya's military strongman Khalifa Haftar on Monday launched an offensive to oust jihadists from their last two strongholds in second city Benghazi, they said. Forces loyal to Haftar, who does not recognise a UN-backed unity government in Tripoli and backs a rival parliament, have retaken most of the coastal city since it was overrun by jihadists in 2014. Riadh Chehibi, an officer in Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army, said the forces advanced in the central district of Al-Sabri and Souq al-Hout area near the port, where jihadists are surrounded. Haftar's forces retook certain positions from the jihadists, but reported no casualties among their ranks, Chehibi said.
(The Libya Observer 05/08/17)
Libya's interest requires concessions, said Khalifa Al-Ghaweel, the head of Salvation Government, one of the country’s three rival governments. In an interview with London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper published on Sunday, Al-Ghaweel said his focus is to establish a coherent state, saying the current national dialogue won’t succeed because it’s limited to people seeking personal interests. Al-Ghaweel was referring to the recent meeting between Khalifa Haftar and Fayaz Sirraj in the UAE. He indicated that the dispute is between two institutions, the General National Congress and the House of Representatives, pointing out that meetings were held between the two in order to reach a national unity government.
(Xinhuanet 05/08/17)
Algeria on Sunday reiterated the commitment of Libya's neighboring nations to continue their efforts in a bid to help warring parties in Libya to restore peace and reach national reconciliation. "The political agreement reached in 2015 between Libyan warring parties in Morocco should be the corner stone for sustainable resolution to the Libyan crisis," Algerian Minister for Maghreb Affairs, Arab League and African Union, Abdelkader Messahel, told reporters after his talks with Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya Martin Kobler, On the eve of the 11th ministerial meeting of Libya's neighboring countries due on Monday in Algiers. "Libya's neighboring nations are committed to help Libyans to reach final solution to their crisis, and this commitment should not...
(The Associated Press 05/08/17)
A spokesman for troops loyal to Libya’s eastern strongman says they are pushing into central parts of Benghazi, clearing out the final areas held by Islamists and their allies in the eastern city. Raith al-Shahiebi of the special forces media office says troops fighting for the Libyan National Army of Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter entered the Souq al-Hout and Sabri areas on Monday. One soldier was killed in the fighting. Hifter is allied with the internationally recognized parliament in eastern Libya. Libya plunged into chaos after the 2011 ouster and killing of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Benghazi has been the scene of some of the worst fighting in the past three years between Hifter’s forces and Islamic militants and former rebels...
(AFP (eng) 05/06/17)
Gunmen mugged 129 migrants on a rubber dinghy headed for Europe and also stole the craft's motor, abandoning them off the Libyan coast, Libya's navy said Saturday. Navy spokesman General Ayoub Qassem said the gunmen in a speedboat chased the dinghy on Friday, boarded around five nautical miles off the Libyan town of Zuwara and stole the migrants' possessions. The migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, including 27 women and two children, were stranded at sea for several hours before being rescued by Libyan coastguard alerted by a local fisherman
(AFP (eng) 05/05/17)
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson held talks Friday with the head of Libya's parliament, a day after visiting Tripoli to back peace efforts in the troubled north African nation. The Foreign Office said Johnson, who met parliament speaker Aguila Salah in the remote eastern city of Tobruk, stressed "the importance of working... to break the political deadlock". The oil-rich country has endured varying degrees of chaos and lawlessness since the 2011 NATO-backed ouster of dictator Moamer Kadhafi, and its rival administrations have struggled to assert nationwide influence. Libya's elected parliament, which fled Tripoli in 2014 after advances by Islamist-backed militias, has so far resisted international efforts to voice support for a UN-backed unity government in the capital. It is allied...
(The Guardian 05/05/17)
Abdel Hakim Belhaj and Fatima Boudchar are challenging decision not to charge Sir Mark Allen over alleged role in torture. A legal attempt to prosecute the former senior MI6 officer Sir Mark Allen for his alleged role in the rendition and torture of Libyan dissidents may be heard partially in secret. The decision by the director of public prosecutions (DPP), Alison Saunders, not to charge Allen is being challenged at the high court by lawyers for Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Boudchar, who was pregnant when they were both abducted in 2004. The unusual procedure is being heard by the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and Mr Justice Popplewell. The court has not yet determined whether...
(The Independent 05/05/17)
Italy leading controversial efforts to prevent refugees from crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Any attempt to prevent refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea by holding them in Libya would trap thousands of men, women and children in “catastrophic conditions”, the EU has been warned. Sigmar Gabriel, the German foreign minister and Vice Chancellor, rowed back on Berlin’s previous support for plans led by Italy to increase cooperation with the war-torn African state. Ruthless smugglers have capitalised on widespread lawlessness to expand their human trade, while migrants are routinely detained by armed gangs and extorted or forced into forced labour and prostitution. “The camps existing on the ground already show horrible and catastrophic conditions,” Mr Gabriel said. “The idea to set up [EU-backed]...
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as the “agripreneur.” Agricultural economist Paul Makube, with South Africa’s First National Bank, told VOA it makes sense to talk about farming when discussing building competitive markets, and boosting innovation and technology. “For business to prosper, you need a situation where...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
French bank Societe Generale said Thursday that net profits were hit in the first quarter by a provision covering the settlement of a long-running legal dispute with Libya's sovereign fund. Societe Generale said in a statement that its net profit fell by 19.2 percent to 747 million euros ($813 million) in the period from January to March, short of analysts' expectations. The decline was largely attributable to a 350-million-euro provision to settle litigation with the Libyan Investment Authority, the bank explained. Societe Generale and the LIA said Thursday they had signed "a confidential settlement agreement that resolves all matters between both parties concerning five financial transactions entered into between 2007 and 2009." The LIA sued the French bank at the...
(AFP (eng) 05/04/17)
The head of Libya's UN-backed unity government and a rival military commander said Wednesday they have agreed to work to end the country's crisis. Government of National Accord (GNA) leader Fayez al-Sarraj and Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, whose forces control most of eastern Libya including key oil ports, held rare talks Tuesday in the United Arab Emirates. In separate statements Wednesday, they called for a resolution to Libya's political and economic crises and for joint efforts to battle extremist groups, without outlining any concrete measures. The issue of how to form a new Libyan army loomed large in the talks. Haftar, who commands a self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), is accused of aiming to install a new military dictatorship in...

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