News Roundup - Wed, Jan 17, 2018

News In Brief

News Roundup - Wed, Jan 17, 2018

January 17, 2018 - 21:51
Written by: NewsDesk

Chairman of Presidential Council, Fayaz Sarraj, met on Tuesday with his government’s senior aviation officials to assess the damage caused to Mitiga Airport following the deadly clashes that erupted on Monday. The media office of Sarraj said the latter met with Minister of Transport, Milad Matouq, Chairman of Civil Aviation Authority, Nasir Eddin Shaib Ein, and Chairman of Airports Authority, Mohammed Bait Mal, who briefed him of the extent of the damage caused to airport buildings and a number of aircraft. The meeting also discussed the measures taken to resume the flights as soon as possible.

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475 illegal migrants were intercepted by Libyan Coast patrols on Monday and Tuesday, the Media Office of Coast Guard has reported. On Monday, a Coast Guard patrol intercepted 352 migrants (276 men, 65 women and 11 children) on three rubber boats in two separate operations off the country’s western shores. “The first boat was intercepted 40 miles north of Garabulli town, while the other two boats were intercepted 12 miles north of Zuwara.” The Media Office said. In the next day, the Coast Guard intercepted 123 migrants (88 men, 133 women and 22 children) 28 miles off Garabulli. Garabulli and Zuwara towns are main hubs of people smuggling in the western region of the country.

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The head of Youth of Awaqir Tribe Movement in east Libya, Al-Jarih Al-Aqwri, has confirmed the release of the manager of Al-Rahila Oil Services Company, Faraj Al-Abdali, on Tuesday. Al-Aqwri revealed that Al-Abdali was detained some days ago by the personal secretary of Khalifa Haftar, Oan Furjani, for his refusal to pay him LYD 60 million from the company’s funds. Al-Abdali was detained outside the company’s HQs in Benghazi by gunmen from so-called Battalion 106, led by Khalid Khalifa Haftar.

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Italian Foreign Minister, Angelino Alfano, said on Monday that the International Organization for Migration managed with the help of the Italian government to send around 19.000 migrants back to their countries of origin in 2017 within the voluntary return program. In his briefing to the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee of the Italian Parliament, Alfano stated that improving the conditions of migrants’ shelters in Libya is a priority for the government, adding that “tangible results” had been achieved in combating “human smuggling networks” in Libya. He also indicated that the Italian government allocated USD 18 million dollars for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration to make their work more effective.

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Tajoura Council of Elders (TCE) denounced on Tuesday the Presidential Council`s use of the term “terrorism” to settle accounts with opponents of their political allies, and warned in a statement that the cause of the clashes that occurred around Mitiga Airport still exist. The TCE added that this kind of response to the clashes by the Presidential Council does no benefit in gaining from here or there. The TCE hold those who claim to have legitimacy responsible for the continuation of the crises in the country. The Presidential Council condemned Mitiga clashes on Monday, claiming that the attackers were attempting to free “ISIS terrorists” out of prison. The attackers (Brigade 33) is part of the Ministry of Defense of the Presidential Council and it took part in the war on ISIS in Sirte.

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The General Manager of Taminhint International Airport, Hamza Ahmed, confirmed that the airport is ready to receive commercial flights and passengers in the coming days after the completion of maintenance work. Ahmed said that they are waiting for an inspection committee from the Ministry of Transport to grant technical approval to begin operations at the airport. He added that the opening of the airport will ease the struggles of local citizens in the south who face unsafe roads and a lack of fuel. It is worth noting that the airport stopped work since the beginning of May last year after the withdrawal of the Third Force from the airport to Jufra after clashes with Dignity Operation forces.

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The Ministry of Health announced on Tuesday that the first batch of debit cards for the foreigners working in the health sector will be issued in mid-February. The head of the Media Office of the ministry, Omar Matoq, confirmed in a press statement that debit cards are due to be issued next February and will be credited in foreign currency worth half the salary of the holder, as agreed with the Central Bank of Libya. Matoq explained that the cards will be credited every 3 months, adding that those receiving the cards will include foreign doctors and nurses working in both government and private sectors who are complying with the contracting procedures in force in the country.

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The head of the Fuel and Gas Crisis Committee, Milad Hijrisi, confirmed that the strike by fuel truck drivers ended on Tuesday. Hijrisi said in a press statement that the drivers returned to work after a meeting with officials of the Ministry of Economy, pledging the end of congestion at fuel stations within 48 hours. He stated that they met with the Deputy Minister for Economy and the Bakeries Syndicate to develop new mechanisms for the distribution of fuel, limiting supply to bakeries that have non-forged licenses. Fuel truck drivers of Brega Oil Marketing Company announced a strike on Saturday, demanding a raise for transport prices.

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High Council of State member Abdelrahman Al-Shater blamed the Presidential Council for the attack on Mitiga Airport in Tripoli. Al-Shater added on Twitter Wednesday that the fact that the PC is not under any kind of legislative control since the day it started two years ago needs to end soon. “The PC is a new dictator in civilian clothing.” He remarked, saying the fact that there is a prison outside the judiciary system in a civilian airport is a big mistake and that fact that there is no other airport than Mitiga is a bigger mistake. “Libya won’t move forward like this.” He added.