Monday 17 June 2019

Libyan navy saves 290 Med migrants

French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Reuters
French President Emmanuel Macron. Photo: Reuters

Ulf Laessing

Libya's navy confirmed this weekend that it rescued three boats carrying a total of 290 Europe-bound migrants off the country's Mediterranean coast - a day after a German aid group released video showing a sinking raft packed with dozens of migrants, with some people scattered in the sea.

Libyan coast guards first reported finding a sinking rubber boat with a collapsed hull last Thursday, leaving most migrants in the water and hanging onto barrels and what was left of the boat.

The three boats carried mostly Arab and African nationals as well as 14 Bangladeshis, who were handed over to Libyan police after receiving humanitarian and medical aid.

Meanwhile, rockets hit a luxury hotel in Libya's capital, Tripoli, last Friday in an attack the internationally recognised government blamed on eastern forces trying to capture the city.

The attack targeted the Rixos hotel, where lawmakers opposing the offensive by troops loyal to Khalifa Haftar have been meeting.

Last Wednesday, Hifter had said in a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron that he could not work toward a ceasefire because he had no one with whom to negotiate.

Hifter opened a military offensive on the Libyan capital of Tripoli in early April despite commitments to move toward elections in the North African country. He has received tacit support from Donald Trump in phone calls from the US president.


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