Morocco repa­tri­ates stranded mi­grants from Libya

The Gulf Today - - MIDDLE EAST -

RABAT: Morocco on Satur­day said it has started the third and fi­nal op­er­a­tion to repa­tri­ate its na­tion­als stranded in Libya, a step­ping stone to il­le­gal mi­gra­tion to Europe.

The min­istry of ex­pa­tri­ates and mi­gra­tion said the op­er­a­tion was launched on Fri­day and aimed at bring­ing home 338 Moroc­can mi­grants stuck in Libya.

The mi­grants were to be lown to Casablanca on the Libyan air­line Afriqiyah and then trans­ported by bus to their home towns, the min­istry said in a state­ment.

It did not say when the op­er­a­tion was ex­pected to be con­cluded.

Morocco has al­ready repa­tri­ated 435 of its cit­i­zens from Libya in two sep­a­rate op­er­a­tions in Au­gust and De­cem­ber.

The In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Mi­gra­tion has called on Libya to shut down 30 de­ten­tion cen­tres hold­ing 15,000 mi­grants.

Au­thor­i­ties in eastern Libya said late Thurs­day they had ar­rested and would de­port 81 mi­grants from Eritrea, Ethiopia and So­ma­lia who had es­caped from smug­glers af­ter fail­ing to reach Europe.

The mi­grants were re­ported to au­thor­i­ties by an imam at a mosque on the coast to the south of the Libyan city of Beng­hazi, oficials said.

Since the 2011 fall and killing of its long­time ruler Muam­mar Qad­hai, Libya has be­come a key launchpad for mi­grants mak­ing desperate bids to reach Europe, of­ten on un­sea­wor­thy ves­sels.

The plight of mi­grants in Libya has gar­nered fresh at­ten­tion af­ter an out­cry over re­ports of slave auc­tions in the coun­try, an enor­mous tran­sit hub for sub-sa­ha­ran Africans seek­ing to reach Europe.

The United Na­tions is com­mit­ted to help­ing Libya or­gan­ise elec­tions by the end of this year, en­cour­aged by the rate at which Libyans have been registering to vote, a top UN ofi­cial said on Wed­nes­day.

A UN ef­fort launched in Septem­ber aims to amend a De­cem­ber 2015 peace plan for Libya and pave the way for a vote, but has so far pro­duced no deal on how to move towards one.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.