Libya fights against human traffickers as migrants’ departures across the Mediterranean increase
In recent days, Europe is witnessing an increase in the departures of migrants from the North African coast, which coincides with the improvement in weather conditions. In the last 24 hours only, more than twenty boats and over 2,000 people have docked on the island of Lampedusa, Italy, in a new emergency that has put a strain on the local Coast Guard. These migrants were added to the 10,000 migrants already landed on the Italian coasts during 2021, a significant increase compared to the 4184 who arrived in the same period of 2019. The authorities of the island of Lampedusa, Totò Martello, expressed the need for clear rules, to be able to protect the human rights of migrants and, at the same time, to control migratory flows in the Mediterranean.
Most of the boats that arrived on the European, and in particular Italian coasts, departed from Libya and Tunisia. In the first country, the security agencies of the western region are waging a real war on criminals and traffickers. The Stability Support, a security agency under the command of Hassan Bouzriba, said it had vanquished a gang of smugglers engaged in human trafficking and other crimes in the western region of Libya. The agency affiliated with the Libyan Presidential Council, represented by Mohamed Younis al-Menfi, reported that on Sunday it has intercepted West of Sabratha a boat with 675 illegal migrants ready to cross the Mediterranean and reach the Italian coast.
The Stability Support force reported that migrants of different nationalities were arrested and handed over to the men of the illegal Anti-Immigration, an armed group affiliated with the Ministry of the Interior, which took steps to collect the identity of the migrants, transferring them to the facilities of welcome in the capital. Among the migrants, there were also women and children. The group revealed that the investigations made it possible to locate the headquarters of the traffickers. Hassan Bouzriba’s men allegedly broke into the cottage where about 1400 migrants were found, mainly from Sub-Saharan Africa and Bangladesh, waiting to make the crossing by sea. The agency also indicated that it had arrested a Malian citizen, identified as Al-Mazoub, in Libya for over two years, suspected of being involved in illegal trafficking, including that of the worst kind, smuggling human beings. The General Logistics and Operations Department of Stability Support has made it known that it has opened an investigation.
The 444th Combat Brigade, affiliated with the Western Libyan army, indicated that on the instructions of the commander of the Tripoli military region, Major General Abdel Baset Marwan, it carried out a military operation against the headquarters of what it defines as “armed gangs responsible for kidnapping and theft within the city of Bani Walid.” The 444th Combat Brigade also reported that, following this operation, its wards released one hundred and ten prisoners of different nationalities, indicating that criminal gangs engaged in human trafficking had captured the migrants, asking families to pay a ransom for their freedom.
“We assure the families of the abductees that their children are in good health and that they will be referred to the relevant authorities,” the 444th Brigade said in a statement, promising to continue fighting criminals wherever they are.It should be remembered that the Brigade, under the command of Major General Abdel Baset Marwan, has previously conducted targeted operations against groups of traffickers and criminal gangs in the Bani Walid area as well as clearing several lairs from armed groups outside state control in the south of Tripoli.