Senior Libyan coastguard commander arrested for alleged human trafficking

The UN-backed govt in Libya has arrested a coastguard commander speculated to be some of the international’s maximum ruthless human traffickers.

On Wednesday, government in Tripoli stated Abd al-Rahman Milad, referred to as Bija, and suspected of being in the back of the drowning of dozens of other people, has been arrested within the Hay-al-Andalus district of the town and is now being detained via Rada particular forces.

It’s the first time that a senior determine of the Libyan coastguard has been arrested for human trafficking.

A UN safety file revealed in June 2017 described Bija as a facilitator of human trafficking and a part of a legal community running in Zawiyah, in north-west Libya, about 28 miles west of Tripoli.

Abd al-Rahman Milad, known as Bija

Abd al-Rahman Milad, referred to as Bija : AP TV

Remaining yr, an investigation via the Italian newspaper, Avvenire, documented the presence of Bija in Italy at a sequence of reliable conferences in Sicily and Rome in Would possibly 2017, prompting complaint of the then inner minister, Marco Minniti.

3 months previous, Minniti had signed a memorandum with the chief of Libya’s UN-backed govt, Fayez al-Sarraj, for cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, which integrated the supply of 4 patrol vessels.

The deal empowered the Libyan coastguard to intercept migrant boats at sea and redirect them to Libya, the place support companies say refugees are abused and tortured.

The alleged trafficker used to be offered on the conferences as “a commander of the Libyan coastguard”, Avvenire stated. Minniti has denied any wrongdoing, pronouncing Italy used to be ignorant of the allegations of criminality in opposition to Bija on the time.

In a video interview filmed within the town of Zawiya, aired in October 2019 on the preferred Italian tv programme Propaganda Reside, Bija informed investigative journalist Francesca Mannocchi that throughout his commute to Italy he have been invited to participate in conferences on the “ministry of justice and the ministry of the internal, in Rome”.

When requested if he had met Minniti, Bija stated: “I don’t know, perhaps.”

Italian reporters Nello Scavo, who first documented Bija’s presence in Italy for Avvenire, and Nancy Porsia, who first wrote about his suspected legal actions in early 2017, got police coverage remaining yr after allegedly receiving threats from Bija following their inquiries.

“There are a number of investigations into Bija in Italy,” Scavo informed the Mum or dad. ‘‘However we don’t know if Italy intends to ship investigators to Libya to query him, or in the event that they intend to request that he be extradited to our nation. In fact, it might be fascinating to grasp what [Bija] must say about his members of the family with the Italian govt.”

“Those years have no longer been simple, after the threats from Bija – and what’s an actual Libyan mafia – in opposition to myself, my spouse, who’s Libyan, and in addition my son,’’ Nancy Porsia stated. ‘‘It used to be no longer simple to discuss Bija and his trafficking, with the indifference of many media assets. For a very long time, I felt remoted. Now, with this arrest, one thing is in the end going down. Alternatively, I imagine Bija’s arrest is likely one of the indicators of a settling of ratings between the more than a few Libyan factions and militias.”

Bija’s arrest used to be welcomed amongst NGOs, that have been denouncing the connection between human traffickers and the Libyan coastguard for years. But it surely has sparked clashes between Zawiya militias and Rada forces close to Janzour. Zawiya militias are reportedly threatening to show off energy provides for Tripoli by way of the Zawiya refinery base except Bija is launched.

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