Hunting for illegal migrants who ended up in the mesh of a maxi operation on the outskirts of Tripoli to “clean up”, as announced by Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dabaiba, a kind of large Libyan Scampia where drug and human traffickers command. About 4,000 migrants, including hundreds of women and children, were arrested during the police raid on Friday evening. “A part of Gargaresh, 12 kilometers from the capital, is an extremely dangerous area in the hands of criminals, where sex and drug markets have been set up. And there is a high number of migrants exploited by traffickers ”explains a Western source in Tripoli. Dabaiba himself gave the green light to the “cleaning” operation with the arrest of about fifty Libyan wanted people for drug trafficking and human beings. The network also ended up with 4 thousand migrants of the 597,641 in Libya according to Iom, a UN rib. There are at least 5,000 in detention centers, most of which are the result of wiretapping at sea by the Coast Guard which has brought 20,000 people ashore since the beginning of the year.
The NGOs have raised the alarm for the massive round-up in the last few hours, which will fill the detention centers of the Ministry of the Interior already crumbling and overcrowded. Tarik Lamloum, a Libyan activist who works for the Belaady Organization for Human Rights, denounced that during the raid “human rights violations were committed against migrants”, especially women and minors. Libyan security units cut off the cell phone network in Gargaresh and raided using “excessive force”, which allegedly resulted in one victim and 15 injured. Many migrants ended up in handcuffs had been registered as asylum seekers by UNHCR, a United Nations agency, which denounces “excessive use of force”.
Official Libyan sources speak of only 700 migrants arrested, but the real number would be close to 4 thousand. A government official said the authorities “will expel as many people as possible” to their home countries. In reality, the Libyan government has no funds available for repatriation which are managed by the IOM, but on a voluntary basis. Over the past five years, 50,000 people have been sent home thanks to the UN. “Many of those arrested in the Libyan Scampia will pay the guards 500 dinars (less than 100 euros) and sooner or later they will go out and return to the human trafficking circuit,” explains the source in Tripoli.
Departures to Italy from the North African coasts do not stop before the winter stop. Alarm phone has raised the alarm for a boat, which arrived in Maltese waters 11 miles from the Italian ones, with 70 people who had contacted the migrant switchboard “many times”. For four days it seems to have disappeared into thin air. In the night between Friday and Saturday, the Coast Guard rescued a boat with 13 Tunisians and a sheep that had landed on the island off the coast of Lampedusa.
As of October 1st, 46,391 illegal migrants arrived in Italy by sea, double compared to last year and almost seven times as many in 2019. The most numerous, 12,835, are Tunisians followed by migrants from Bangladesh and Egypt where there is no is no war.
The surge in landings is linked to Libyan political instability. The elections of 24 December are in doubt, after the tug-of-war over the candidacy of the current Prime Minister Dabaiba. General Khalifa Haftar is also ready to take the field, but in a recent poll he would be beaten by Seif el Islam, the son of Colonel Gaddafi. In turn, however, Gaddafi’s heir would succumb in the polls compared to Dabaiba, who was one of his collaborators at the time of the colonel.