Monday 21 August 2017
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
The UN Security Council on Tuesday backed the appointment of Lebanese academic and former culture minister Ghassan Salame to be the UN's new envoy in Libya. The appointment capped a four-month search for a new head of the UN political mission in Libya who will lead negotiations on opening up a UN-backed deal to form a unity government. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had presented Salame as his choice for the post after a series of other candidates raised objections from council members. The United States in February blocked the appointment of former Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, with the administration of Donald Trump saying it was acting in the interest of its ally Israel. That decision however would have been...
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks in the last 10 years...
(AFP (eng) 06/17/17)
The Libyan coastguard has rescued more than 900 African and Asian migrants attempting to reach Europe, a navy spokesman said on Saturday. "A coastguard patrol from Zawiya (west of Tripoli) intercepted five inflatable boats and a wooden vessel carrying 906 migrants at dawn on Friday," General Ayoub Qassem said. He added that 25 children and 98 women, including seven who were pregnant, were among those rescued. "One of the rubber boats was holed and on the point of sinking, while the wooden one did not have a motor," he said. People traffickers have exploited the chaos in Libya since a 2011 uprising toppled and killed strongman Moamer Kadhafi to boost their lucrative but deadly trade.
(AFP (eng) 06/15/17)
Once an El Dorado for those seeking work and advancement, Libya has turned into the seventh circle of hell for migrants whose experiences range from exploitation verging on slavery to kidnapping and torture. Back in the days when Moamer Kadhafi was leader, Africa's second-largest oil producer was billed as a top destination for those looking for jobs and money. But with the collapse of the Kadhafi regime in 2011, everything changed. These days, those who have been there say Libya is in the grip of anarchy, controlled by a network of armed groups and militias, a place where African migrants are exposed to every form of abuse. "Now Libya is bad, bad, bad," said Ibrahim Ali, a native of Guinea-Bissau...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
The International Criminal Court chief's prosecutor Wednesday called for the "immediate arrest and surrender" of Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, who was reportedly set free by a militia in Libya. An arrest warrant issued by the Hague-based ICC against Seif in 2011 "remains valid and Libya is obliged to immediately arrest and surrender Mr Gaddafi... regardless of any purported amnesty law in Libya," Fatou Bensouda said. Seif al-Islam, the second son and heir apparent of the late deposed Libyan dictator, was said to have been released on Friday by a militia that controls the town...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Extortion, corruption and fear; violence, hunger and sometimes even death: for west African migrants dreaming of reaching Europe, the road to get there can be an absolute minefield. - Departure - Whether it's The Gambia, Ivory Coast, Senegal or Nigeria, everything starts with the "hustlers" -- slang for the middlemen or fixers who organise the trip. Their honesty and prices vary, with the would-be migrant usually deceived about the welcome expected in Europe. Many possess no official documents from their home country, and do not understand illegal status in Europe. Most are ignorant about the extreme difficulties they will encounter en route. "We didn't know we were risking our lives," said Kante Sekou...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
Maria gave smugglers all her family savings and crossed three countries and the searing Libyan desert, but when she finally boarded a boat for Europe her dream was swiftly shattered. She was 24 and pregnant with her second child when she left Liberia with her husband and their three-year-old son. The family passed through Guinea and Mali before crossing southern Algeria to reach the Libyan desert. "The smugglers took all our money" -- more than $2,150 (2,000 euros), she said. "We spent four days in the desert. People died of thirst and the sun in the back of the truck." They finally arrived on the beach at Sabrata, 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Libya's capital Tripoli, a key departure...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Uche's real journey had yet to begin but he had already spent four days in the northern Nigerian city of Kano after travelling on public buses and potholed roads from Imo state in the southeast. He planned to go to Agadez, a transit town on the southern edge of the Sahara desert in central Niger, take a truck to Sebha, in southwestern Libya, and from there to the capital Tripoli, and then to Italy or Spain. But his contact, who was supposed to drive him and three women across Nigeria's northern border, was arrested on suspicion of people smuggling. "His house had been under surveillance," explains the 38-year-old electrician in Kano's bustling Sabon Gari district. "The movement of the three...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
Libyan authorities said Monday that Moamer Kadhafi's son Seif al-Islam, reportedly set free by a local militia at the weekend, was still wanted by a Tripoli court for a 2015 conviction. Seif al-Islam, the second son and heir apparent of the late deposed Libyan dictator, was said to have been released on Friday by a militia group that controls the town of Zintan in western Libya. The group, which had held Seif al-Islam for more than five years, said he had been set free under an amnesty law promulgated by the parliament based in the country's east during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. But the prosecutor general's office in Tripoli, where a rival UN-backed administration is based, said the...
(AFP (eng) 06/12/17)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will on Monday meet African leaders in Berlin on initiatives aiming to reduce the poverty and conflict driving a mass migrant influx to Europe. The idea is to team up African nations willing to reform with private investors who would bring business and jobs to a continent where instability or graft often scare off foreign companies. Merkel is hosting the initiative as part of Germany's presidency of the Group of 20 powerful economies, whose leaders meet in the northern port of Hamburg a month later. Invited to Berlin are Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the leaders of Ghana, Ivory Coast...
(AFP (eng) 06/11/17)
Seif al-Islam, the second son and heir apparent of the late deposed Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, is said to have been freed in Libya after more than five years in captivity. The Abu Bakr al-Sadiq Brigade, a militia that controls the town of Zintan in western Libya, said Seif al-Islam was freed late on Friday, under an amnesty law promulgated by the parliament based in the country's east during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "He is now free and has left the city of Zintan," the group said in a statement on its Facebook page. There was no independent confirmation of Seif al-Islam's release...
(AFP (eng) 06/10/17)
At least eight migrants drowned when their Europe-bound boat sank off Libya's coast and at least 100 people are missing, a coastguard official said on Saturday. The eight bodies were on an inflatable craft that can carry up to 120 passengers, said Colonel Fathi al-Rayani, head of the coastguard in Garabulli, 60 kilometres (40 miles) east of Tripoli. He estimated that "at least 100" migrants were missing. The boat was spotted deflated off Garabulli, and the coastguard found the bodies inside, said an AFP reporter who accompanied them. Conflict-ravaged Libya has long been a stepping stone for migrants seeking a better life in Europe. The UN refugee agency has said around 61,250 migrants have reached Italy since the start of...
(AFP (eng) 06/10/17)
The United Arab Emirates has supplied attack helicopters and other military aircraft to the Libyan forces of strongman Khalifa Haftar, in violation of a UN arms embargo, according to a UN report. Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which refuses to recognize the UN-backed government in Tripoli, has made inroads in fighting and now controls all the major cities and military bases in the south of Libya. "The United Arab Emirates have been providing both material support and direct support to LNA, which have significantly increased the air support available to LNA," said the report by a UN panel of experts. They were able to trace deliveries of Belarus-made attack helicopters back to the United Arab Emirates and provided photographs...
(AFP (eng) 06/10/17)
More than 900 migrants have been rescued off the coast of Libya during the past 48 hours while trying to reach Italy, the Italian coastguard said Friday. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said that it saved 716 of the migrants, and had found one body. "Around 800 people were rescued today (Friday) during eight separate operations" in the Mediterranean, said a spokesman for the coastguard, which is coordinating the operations. The migrants were on eight boats, including two inflatables, he said. Some 130 others were rescued on Thursday. MSF tweeted that it had "completed the 5th rescue (operation) and now have 716 people onboard. Unfortunately, for one person we arrived too late." The UN refugee agency has said around 61,250 migrants...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/10/17)
Emirati assistance that violates a U.N. arms embargo has significantly boosted air power for forces loyal to Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar, a report by U.N. investigators published on Friday said. Air power has helped Haftar's eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) gain the upper hand since last year in Libya's conflict between rival groups vying for power. The panel of experts which reports on violations of U.N. sanctions across Libya said Haftar's forces had received aircraft as well as military vehicles from the United Arab Emirates, and had built up an air base at Al Khadim. The annual U.N. report provides rare detail on the level of outside intervention in Libya, where foreign backing for rival armed camps is widely seen...
(Bloomberg 06/08/17)
Libya’s biggest oil field shut down due to a protest by workers, stalling a revival in the politically divided country’s production of crude. Sharara closed on Wednesday, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak to the media. Workers are protesting a colleague’s death at the field, halting about 270,000 barrels a day, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not allowed to speak to the media. Before the halt, Libya’s oil output was at its highest since October 2014, when the country pumped 850,000 barrels a day. The recent increase, along with higher production from Nigeria...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/08/17)
More girls are completing secondary school across sub-Saharan Africa as attitudes change and state spending rises, but some of the most marginalized girls — like those married young or forced to work — are still missing out, education experts say. The percentage of girls completing secondary school has risen in all regions of Africa since 2005, said a recent report by the African Development Bank, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the U.N. Development Program. Almost twice as many girls in East Africa and three times as many in Central Africa completed secondary education in 2014 as in 2005, according to the annual African Economic Outlook report, which was published at the end of last month. Yet more...
(Libya Herald 06/07/17)
In a new display of unity in Misrata, leaders of the Bunyan Marsous Operations Room, of Battalion No. 40, the city’s military council and its municipal council have ordered the Benghazi Defence Brigades (BDB) positioned at the Baghla junction on the road south of Abu Grain to disband, surrender their weapons and their leader Mustafa al-Sharksi. If the ultimatum were ignored, the Misratans said they would use force against the BDB. Referring to the backing it has had from the controversial grand mufti Sadek Al-Ghariani, the Misratan statement referred to the BDB as the “mufti’s forces”. The statement represents something of watershed in Misrata. For the past six months, BDB sympathisers in the city, led by the military council headed...
(Reuters (Eng) 06/07/17)
Building a network of African women leaders in fields ranging from business to politics could galvanize female leadership across the continent and boost peacebuilding efforts and good governance, the head of U.N. Women said on Tuesday. The African Women Leaders Network, which was launched last week in New York by the United Nations and the African Union Commission, hopes to drive more women into leadership roles, through mentoring, peer learning and harnessing contacts. By supporting women's leadership in Africa, the platform aims to galvanize their contributions to building and sustaining peace, improving political processes and driving social change, and realizing the U.N. global goals, according to U.N. Women. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), adopted in 2015, include targets on...
(AFP (eng) 06/06/17)
Seven migrants from sub-Saharan Africa have been found dead in an abandoned refrigerator truck near the Libyan capital, a senior official in the fight against illegal immigration told AFP Monday. "There were 35 illegal migrants on board, but seven of them had already died, and the 28 survivors have received medical treatment and are in good health," Adel Mostafa said. He added that the dead migrants, who were found on Sunday, had almost certainly asphyxiated. The official said he did not know what had prompted the smuggler to abandon the vehicle and the people inside it. Many migrants from sub-Saharan Africa are driven through southern Libya in trucks to the northern coast where they later attempt the perilous Mediterranean crossing...

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