Latest Libya news

Captain 'Forced' To Pilot Doomed Migrant Ship

Captain 'Forced' To Pilot Doomed Migrant Ship

A Tunisian man arrested after a boat sank off Libya, killing about 800 migrants, was forced to pilot the vessel at gunpoint, …

  • Migrant rescue mission must extend closer to Libya - Amnesty International
    Migrant rescue mission must extend closer to Libya - Amnesty International Sat, Apr 25, 2015

    By Gabriele Pileri CATANIA, Italy (Reuters) - European efforts to save the lives of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean must involve search and rescue operations near the shores of Libya, Amnesty International said on Saturday as hundreds more people arrived in Italy from North Africa. The European Union was shocked into action last week by a shipwreck that killed more than 700 people, and pledged to triple the budget of its sea mission which had replaced a more comprehensive Italian operation. "We only see that mission patrolling right around the borders of Italy. More »

  • Exclusive - Brother says accused Tunisian was forced to captain migrant boat …
    Exclusive - Brother says accused Tunisian was forced to captain migrant boat … Sat, Apr 25, 2015

    By Tarek Amara TUNIS (Reuters) - The Tunisian man accused of piloting a migrant boat that sank off Libya, killing more than 700 people, is himself a migrant who was forced at gunpoint to captain the ship because of his experience as a fisherman, his brother said on Saturday. Italian authorities say the man named in court as Mohammed Ali Malek, 27, was in charge of the heavily overloaded fishing boat that capsized shortly before midnight on April 18 with hundreds of African and Bangladeshi migrants locked below deck. The man's brother told Reuters the Tunisian's real name was Nourredine Mahjoub and he had first travelled clandestinely to Europe five years ago, spending time in Italy and France before being deported. He had recently returned to Libya seeking work. More »

  • Libya's lawlessness and migrant crisis
    Libya's lawlessness and migrant crisis Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    A new European Union policy on migration is now in place, but the turmoil in Libya makes it difficult to enforce. More »

  • Italian judge orders migrant boat accused to remain in custody Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    By James Mackenzie CATANIA, Italy (Reuters) - An Italian judge on Friday ordered that the presumed captain of a migrant boat that sank with the loss of more than 700 lives should remain in custody after prosecutors asked for him to be charged with multiple homicide and people-trafficking. Mohammed Alì Malek, 27, denies that he was in charge of the heavily overloaded fishing boat that capsized off Libya late on Saturday with hundreds of African and Bangladeshi migrants locked in its lower decks. The Tunisian showed little emotion as the preliminary hearing began behind closed doors in a court in the Sicilian city of Catania where he will come face to face with a number of survivors who will be giving testimony. Prosecutors say he mishandled the fishing boat and caused it to collide with a Portuguese merchant ship which was coming to its assistance. More »

  • Boat Tragedy Captain Denies Causing Deaths
    Boat Tragedy Captain Denies Causing Deaths Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    Tunisian Mohammed Ali Malek, 27, is accused of multiple first degree homicides, causing a shipwreck and people trafficking. He sat emotionless behind a glass screen, as TV crews including Sky News were allowed inside the court. Authorities fear up to 920 migrants died when the ship carrying them sunk in waters between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa. "He says he was like all the others, a migrant on board the fishing boat and that he paid a sum of money for the trip to the Italian coast," he said. More »

  • Labour Accuses PM Over Migrant Boat Deaths
    Labour Accuses PM Over Migrant Boat Deaths Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    Ed Miliband has suggested David Cameron is partly to blame for the deaths of hundreds of refugees fleeing North Africa. But the Labour leader's comments drew a swift rebuke, with the Tories accusing him of a "provocative and shameful intervention", while the Prime Minister dismissed them as "ill-judged". Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has also said it was "distasteful" to reduce the human tragedy in the Mediterranean "to a political point-scoring blame game". In a foreign policy speech, Mr Miliband indicated the deaths of hundreds fleeing North Africa are "in part a direct result" of the coalition Government's 2011 military intervention against Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. More »

  • EU rescue ships head for Libya, as migrants die also in Balkans
    EU rescue ships head for Libya, as migrants die also in Balkans Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    By Alastair Macdonald and Kole Casule BRUSSELS/SKOPJE (Reuters) - British and German warships made ready to sail for waters off Libya as Europe ramped up rescue operations in the Mediterranean after up to 900 desperate migrants drowned last weekend on a boat heading for Italy. Yet hours after European Union leaders agreed in Brussels on Thursday to treble funding for EU maritime missions and pledged more ships and aircraft, 14 clandestine migrants were killed when a train ploughed into dozens of Somalis and Afghans making their way in darkness along a rail track in a Macedonian gorge. After the sinking of a packed fishing vessel last weekend nearly doubled the death toll at sea this year to almost 2,000, EU leaders responded to a public outcry by reversing sharp cuts in search and rescue operations -- though voters' wariness of immigration means few are willing to take in many more refugees. Britain's helicopter-carrying flagship Bulwark, currently near Istanbul, will head for the area between Libya and Italy on Sunday, the government said. More »

  • Ten militants, three soldiers killed in Tunisia clashes Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    At least 10 militants and three Tunisian soldiers have been killed in two days of clashes in the central Kasserine region near the border with Algeria, the military said on Friday. Tunisia's army has been carrying out operations in the area since last month's attack on the Bardo museum in Tunis where gunmen killed more than 20 foreign tourists in an attack claimed by Islamic State militants. Since its 2011 uprising against autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali swept the country to democracy, Tunisia's armed forces have been fighting a low-level Islamist militant insurgency by several armed groups. The Bardo massacre, where at least two gunmen killed 21 foreign tourists at the national museum, highlighted Tunisia's vulnerability to militant violence as Islamist extremists use the chaos in neighbouring Libya for shelter. More »

  • U.N. welcomes EU migrant plan, says test is whether lives saved Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations on Friday welcomed the European Union's plan to triple the size of its naval search mission in the Mediterranean, but said the key test was whether lives were saved and war refugees gained asylum. The EU's assurances meant the operation would have capacity, resources and scope comparable to Italy's Mare Nostrum rescue operation, which was ended six months ago, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) said. "UNHCR believes they are an important first step towards collective European action," spokesman Adrian Edwards told a news briefing. "At the moment there is no alternative for many people." Four days after up to 900 desperate people drowned trying to reach Europe from Libya, EU leaders agreed at an emergency summit on Thursday to restore funding for naval search missions to last year's level. More »

  • Ahead of election, Miliband says PM Cameron has squandered Britain's global …
    Ahead of election, Miliband says PM Cameron has squandered Britain's global … Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    By William James LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron has squandered Britain's global influence by forging an inward-looking approach to international affairs that has left the world's fifth-largest economy isolated, opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband said on Friday. Less than two weeks before a May 7 election, Miliband dragged Cameron's foreign policy record to the heart of a campaign which has so far seen almost no debate of international affairs beyond references to immigration. Citing Cameron's absence from Franco-German talks on Ukraine with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, the chaos in Libya and the Conservative promise of a vote on European Union membership, Miliband said the prime minister has torpedoed British clout. More »

  • Murder and abuse before deadly migrant crossing Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    By James Mackenzie CATANIA, Italy (Reuters) - Italian investigators are piecing together a picture of beatings and abuse that hundreds of Africans and Bangladeshis suffered before setting sail from Libya to Italy, only to drown late on Saturday in one of the worst migrant shipwrecks ever in the Mediterranean. One man was killed when he stood up on a rubber dinghy without permission, the prosecutors said. More than 700 people, most locked into the hold and lower deck of a 20-metre-long fishing boat, are believed to have drowned instantly when the overloaded vessel capsized after colliding with a Portuguese merchant ship coming to its aid some 70 nautical miles off the coast of Libya. More »

  • Crime groups making millions of euros on boat migrants - prosecutor Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    By Steve Scherer and Wladimir Pantaleone Palermo, ITALY (Reuters) - Criminal networks are making millions of euros a year smuggling migrants across the Mediterranean, with each boatload typically earning 80,000 euros, a top Italian prosecutor said on Thursday. On Thursday, Palermo Chief Prosecutor Francesco Lo Voi said this week's probe had helped expose other groups, which are gearing up to handle as many as one million migrants he estimates are in Libya and hoping to cross the sea to Europe. "During this investigation, we discovered that there are other parallel criminal networks and organisations which work in the same field," Lo Voi told Reuters in his office in the labyrinthine courthouse known for its historic fight against the Sicilian Mafia. Each criminal group is earning "probably millions of euros" per year and "they are organising themselves to face the increasing requests" to go to Europe, Lo Voi said. More »

  • Libya militia 'launches air raids' against IS
    Libya militia 'launches air raids' against IS Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    A militia alliance that controls Libya's capital has carried out air strikes against positions of the Islamic State jihadist group in the coastal city of Sirte, an official said. More »

  • Ahead of election, Miliband says Cameron has squandered Britain's global …
    Ahead of election, Miliband says Cameron has squandered Britain's global … Fri, Apr 24, 2015

    By William James LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister David Cameron has squandered Britain's influence by forging an inward-looking approach to international affairs that has left the world's fifth largest economy isolated, opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband will say on Friday. Less than two weeks before a May 7 election, Miliband will seek to drag Cameron's foreign policy record to the heart of the campaign which has so far seen almost no debate of international affairs beyond references to immigration. Citing Cameron's absence from Franco-German talks on Ukraine with Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin, the chaos in Libya and the Conservative promise of a vote on European Union membership, Miliband said the prime minister has torpedoed British clout. More »

  • Shocked by drowned migrants, Europe restores rescue mission
    Shocked by drowned migrants, Europe restores rescue mission Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    By Alastair Macdonald and Philip Pullella BRUSSELS/ROME (Reuters) - Four days after up to 900 desperate people drowned trying to reach Europe from Libya, EU leaders agreed on Thursday to triple its naval search mission in the Mediterranean, restoring its funding to last year's level. Critics called it a face-saving operation that did not go far enough to emulate an Italian rescue mission abandoned six months ago for want of EU support. Countries, including Britain which will send the Royal Navy's helicopter-carrying flagship, pledged aircraft and boats to Operation Triton, an EU frontier operation off Italy. More »

  • Mediterranean Boat Tragedy Victims Laid To Rest
    Mediterranean Boat Tragedy Victims Laid To Rest Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    Hundreds of people, including European officials, have attended funerals in Malta for some of the migrants who drowned in Saturday night's boat disaster off Libya. Authorities fear that up to 920 migrants died when the ship carrying them capsized in waters between Libya and the Italian island of Lampedusa. The coffins of the 24 people whose bodies are the only ones to have been recovered from the Mediterranean were carried into the inter-faith service at the Mater Dei hospital by Maltese soldiers. "The migrants were escaping from a desperate situation," the bishop told the mourners. More »

  • PM Sends Navy Ship To Tackle Migrant Crisis
    PM Sends Navy Ship To Tackle Migrant Crisis Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    Britain is to send one of the largest ships in the Royal Navy to help deal with the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean. David Cameron said HMS Bulwark will be deployed along with three helicopters and two border patrol vessels as part of a European operation. The Prime Minister spoke as he arrived at emergency talks in Brussels, where an EU-wide deal has been agreed to "strengthen" the presence at sea to disrupt traffickers and to triple funding for search-and-rescue operations. The move comes amid rising public outrage over the deaths of migrants in the Mediterranean after up to 900 people were killed when their boat sank on its way to Europe from Libya. More »

  • House Benghazi panel calls Clinton to testify
    House Benghazi panel calls Clinton to testify Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of a House committee investigating the 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on Thursday called Hillary Rodham Clinton to testify at a public hearing next month, setting up a high-profile showdown over the Democratic presidential candidate's use of a private email account and server while she was secretary of state. More »

  • EU leaders hold emergency summit on migrant crisis
    EU leaders hold emergency summit on migrant crisis Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    EU leaders sat down for crisis talks Thursday on possible military action against human traffickers in Libya, in a desperate bid to halt the tidal wave of refugees trying to reach Europe by sea. More »

  • Med shipwreck survivors describe terror on dry land
    Med shipwreck survivors describe terror on dry land Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    People smugglers responsible for the Mediterranean's worst disaster in decades beat several migrants to death and executed at least one minor before the boat left Libya with more than 750 people aboard, survivors have told investigators. More »

  • In Libya's anarchy, migrant smuggling a booming trade
    In Libya's anarchy, migrant smuggling a booming trade Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    CAIRO (AP) — Libya's chaos has turned it into a lucrative magnet attracting migrants desperate to make the dangerous sea voyage to Europe. With no central authority to stop it, business is booming, with smugglers charging ever more as demand goes up, then using the profits to buy larger boats and heavier weapons to ensure no one dare touch them. More »

  • Libya: The gateway to a better life in Europe
    Libya: The gateway to a better life in Europe Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    Seeing the hazardous journey across the Mediterranean as their only hope, thousands of Africans come to war-torn Libya. More »

  • Italy says 200,000 migrants may arrive by sea this year Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    By Philip Pullella and Antonella Cinelli ROME (Reuters) - As many as 5,000 migrants a week could arrive in Italy by sea from North African ports in the next five months unless something is done about the issue, according to an interior ministry projection. Arrivals of migrants usually spike in the spring and summer months because of better weather in the Mediterranean but the situation is expected to worsen because of growing lawlessness and anarchy in Libya, from where most of the migrants depart. The deaths, in what appears to have been the worst disaster ever among migrants fleeing by sea to Europe from north Africa, caused shock in Europe where a decision to scale back naval operations last year seems to have increased the risks for migrants without reducing their numbers. Italy shut down its "Mare Nostrum" mission that was credited with saving the lives of more than 100,000 migrants last year because other EU countries refused to pay for it. More »

  • Isis desert killings: Memorial held in Ethiopia for 30 Christians executed in …
    Isis desert killings: Memorial held in Ethiopia for 30 Christians executed in … Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    A 29-minute video released online on Sunday (19 April), reportedly made by Isis, showed around 12 men being killed on a beach, and around 16 people being shot in the head in a desert area. Ethiopia has confirmed many of the Christians shown being shot and killed in the video were its citizens. Militants claimed the victims were killed in Libya. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn addressed the crowds saying that the country will fight against terrorism with whatever it takes. More »

  • Isis desert killings: Memorial held in Ethopia for 30 Christians executed in …
    Isis desert killings: Memorial held in Ethopia for 30 Christians executed in … Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    A 29-minute video released online on Sunday (19 April), reportedly made by Isis, showed around 12 men being killed on a beach, and around 16 people being shot in the head in a desert area. Ethiopia has confirmed many of the Christians shown being shot and killed in the video were its citizens. Militants claimed the victims were killed in Libya. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn addressed the crowds saying that the country will fight against terrorism with whatever it takes. More »

  • Italy migrant crisis: EU must act to shield children from beheading, racism …
    Italy migrant crisis: EU must act to shield children from beheading, racism … Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    This isn't a war, a famine, or even a natural disaster – it is an entirely predictable humanitarian crisis that shows no signs of abating unless much more is done to save migrants as they attempt the perilous journey from the Libyan coast to southern Italy. The staggering numbers of lives already lost in this tragedy - hundreds of them children - are due in large part to last year's decision to end Italy's search-and-rescue operation Mare Nostrum, which was replaced with a much smaller and cheaper European border control operation, Triton. With escalating conflict in Libya and the approach of warmer weather making the Mediterranean calmer, fatalities are sure to keep mounting unless the search-and-rescue operation restarts with the involvement of all EU countries. I've worked in emergencies for nearly 10 years, but the countless stories I've heard this past week on the ground in Catania – especially from children – are some of the most heart-breaking. More »

  • Libya's rival government says would confront EU attacks on traffickers
    Libya's rival government says would confront EU attacks on traffickers Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    The group controlling Libya's coastal capital Tripoli said it would "confront" any unilateral European Union moves to attack sites used by people-traffickers, urging the bloc to consult it over plans to deal with a migration crisis. Muhammed el-Ghirani, foreign minister of the group that is a rival to Libya's internationally-recognised government, said it had repeatedly offered to help deal with migrants leaving its shores, but its proposals had been rebuffed. His comments, made in an interview with the Times of Malta published on Thursday, underlined the challenges facing EU ministers meeting in Brussels to find ways to stem the numbers risking their lives travelling from Libya, a country mired in political chaos. "We have been doing our best to get Europe to cooperate with us to deal with illegal immigration but they keep telling us we're not the internationally recognised government. More »

  • GOP spokesman: Benghazi report may slip into 2016
    GOP spokesman: Benghazi report may slip into 2016 Thu, Apr 23, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican-led committee investigating the 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's role, is signaling that its final report could slip to just months before the presidential election if the Obama administration delays producing documents and witnesses. More »

  • EU leaders to restore rescue operations after migrant boat disaster
    EU leaders to restore rescue operations after migrant boat disaster Wed, Apr 22, 2015

    By Adrian Croft and Steve Scherer BRUSSELS/ROME (Reuters) - European Union leaders who decided last year to halt the rescue of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean will reverse their decision on Thursday at a summit hastily convened after nearly 2,000 people died at sea. Public outrage over the deaths peaked this week after up to 900 migrants died last Sunday when their boat sank on its way to Europe from Libya. Italy shut down the mission that saved the lives of more than 100,000 migrants last year because other EU countries refused to pay for it. The peak migration season of late spring and summer has barely begun, with international organisations estimating tens of thousands of African and Asian migrants likely to attempt the journey per month, mostly from Libya. More »

  • Under-fire EU to consider military action at migrant summit
    Under-fire EU to consider military action at migrant summit Wed, Apr 22, 2015

    EU leaders gathering in Brussels on Thursday will consider launching a military operation against human traffickers in Libya in the biggest effort yet to halt the deadly flow of refugees trying to reach Europe by sea. More »

  • Italy calls on EU and UN to help halt flow of migrants
    Italy calls on EU and UN to help halt flow of migrants Wed, Apr 22, 2015

    Italian PM urges measures to prevent migrants living south of Libya from leaving their countries in the first place. More »

  • Migrants in Libya say face beatings, rape awaiting Mediterranean crossing
    Migrants in Libya say face beatings, rape awaiting Mediterranean crossing Wed, Apr 22, 2015

    By Joseph D'Urso LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Two Eritrean migrants waiting in Libya to make the dangerous Mediterranean crossing to Italy have spoken of the terrible conditions they face, going hungry and witnessing others being beaten and raped by smugglers. "I have seen women be raped in front of their children, and they leave their children on top of the car and take the mothers if they want to rape them," a man named 'Yosef', to protect his identity, said in an interview with Save The Children. "There is lack of food, there is only macaroni," said Yosef, who is "stuck" in Libya because he has run out of money, after being funded by his aunt to travel there from Sudan. The two Eritreans, interviewed by Save The Children on Sunday, are waiting in a house in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, with 84 other migrants controlled by smugglers. More »

  • Italy: UN presence in Niger, Sudan can help migrant crisis
    Italy: UN presence in Niger, Sudan can help migrant crisis Wed, Apr 22, 2015

    ROME (AP) — Italy pressed the EU on Wednesday to devise robust steps to stop the deadly tide of migrants crossing the Mediterranean, including considering military intervention against smugglers and boosting U.N. refugee offices in countries bordering Libya. More »

  • Anti-ISIL rally turns violent in Ethiopia
    Anti-ISIL rally turns violent in Ethiopia Wed, Apr 22, 2015

    Rally over deaths in Libya gains anti-authority momentum with protesters throwing stones at police, prompting crackdown. More »

  • Ethiopia: Police fire tear gas on protesters after Isis beheadings in Libya
    Ethiopia: Police fire tear gas on protesters after Isis beheadings in Libya Wed, Apr 22, 2015

    Clashes broke out at a government-organised demonstration in Addis Ababa against the beheading and shooting of 30 Ethiopian Christians by Islamic State (Isis) militants in Libya. The government blamed the opposition for hijacking the march and fired tear gas canisters at the gathering in Meskel square. Ethiopia has confirmed that those killed in the video, posted at the weekend, were its citizens and family members have so far identified two of them. More »