Armed group seeks legitimacy with Tripoli migrant deal, source says

Steve Scherer, Aidan Lewis

ROME/TUNIS (Reuters) – A powerful armed group, known for smuggling people from Libya, is seeking legitimacy and state security jobs from the Tripoli government in exchange for stopping migrant boats from leaving the coast of Sabratha for Italy, a senior group member said.

The group, the Anas al-Dabbashi brigade, struck a deal with Libya’s United Nations-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) this summer to clamp down on trafficking, the senior brigade member, who gave his name as Mohamed, told Reuters.

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Italy begins training Libyan navy and coastguard

Italy yesterday received 87 Libyan navy and coastguard personnel as part of a European training programme aimed at improving Libya’s capabilities to combat smuggling and human trafficking across the Mediterranean.

“The training of Libyan navy and coastguard officers will take place at the Italian Taranto’s Petty Officer Academy,” the Italian state television reported.

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Rescued migrants say lucky to dodge Libyan coastal clampdown

Antonio Denti

ABOARD AQUARIUS RESCUE SHIP (Reuters) – Migrants rescued in the Mediterranean last week said they had been lucky to dodge increased sea and police patrols along the Western coast of Libya that have dramatically reduced arrivals in Italy since July.

Last month, Reuters reported that an armed group was stopping departures from the city of Sabratha, which had been the main springboard for smuggling for the past two years, although some boats are still getting through.

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Sabratha Military Council condemns Italy’s approach to Khalifa Haftar

Written by: SafaAlharathy

The Sabratha Military Council has condemned the Italian government’s recent moves to get in touch with the leader of Dignity Operation Khalifa Haftar; five days after the meeting of Sabratha Mayor Hussein Al-Dawadi and the Italian Ambassador to Libya Giuseppe Peroni.

In a statement on Thursday, the council criticized the official invitation sent by the Italian government to Khalifa Haftar to visit Rome on September 26, despite the fact that the legitimate authorities in Tripoli appointed a new Chief of Staff of the Libyan Army.

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EU nations authorized their vessels to unlawfully fish in African waters

WRITTEN BY Abdi Latif Dahir

For more than three years, European Union members states authorized unlawful fishing activities off the coast of Africa in contravention of common regional laws and policies, a new report shows.

Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization for ocean conservation, said that Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain violated the laws of the European Common Fisheries Policy by awarding private fishing authorizations to vessels, which granted them access to waters in The Gambia and Equatorial Guinea. Using an online monitoring tool, Oceana recorded 19 EU-flagged vessels that illegally fished for almost 32,000 hours in African waters from April 2012 through to August 2015.

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Europeans, Africans agree renewed push to tackle migrant crisis

PARIS (Reuters) – Europe’s “big four” continental powers and three African states agreed a plan on Monday to tackle illegal human trafficking and support nations struggling to contain the flow of people across the desert and Mediterranean sea.

The 28-nation European Union has long struggled to reach a coherent answer to the influx of migrants fleeing war, poverty and political upheaval in the Middle East and Africa, and the crisis is testing cooperation between member states.

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Exclusive: Armed group stopping migrant boats leaving Libya

TUNIS/ROME (Reuters) – An armed group is stopping migrant boats from setting off across the Mediterranean from a city west of Tripoli that has been a springboard for people smugglers, causing a sudden drop in departures over the past month, sources in the area said.

The revelation throws new light on the sharp reduction in migrant arrivals from Italy, which took over from the Aegean route as the main focus of European concerns in the crisis.

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Libya: Khalifa Haftar ally Mahmoud al-Werfalli arrested

Unclear if Mahmoud al-Werfalli will be handed over to ICC, which issued his arrest warrant for ‘murder as a war crime’.

A senior Libyan military commander allied with Khalifa Haftar and suspected of involvement in the deaths of 33 people in eastern Benghazi has been arrested.

The general command of the Libyan National Army (LNA) – the force that controls most of eastern Libya, including key oil ports – said on Thursday that Mahmoud al-Werfalli was being investigated by a military prosecutor.

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Migrant traffickers taking Black Sea route to evade detection

People traffickers are shifting their routes into Europe in a bid to outpace efforts to catch them, the Romanian authorities have warned, citing a case in which 69 Iraqi migrants were arrested trying to reach the country by sea.

The group, who were travelling in a Turkish-flagged motorised yacht, were intercepted by the Romanian border force ten miles from the Black Sea port city of Mangalia. They included ten women and 29 children, while the suspected smugglers, who were steering the yacht, were Bulgarian and Cypriot nationals.

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