Libya: air strikes against smugglers’ sites (government)

Libya: air strikes against smugglers’ sites (government)

The UN-recognised government of national unity, based in the Libyan capital Tripoli, announced on Thursday that it had carried out air strikes against smugglers’ sites in the west of the country.

“Our national air force carried out (Thursday) morning precise and targeted air strikes against the hideouts of gangs of traffickers in fuel, drugs and human beings in the western coastal region”, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Thursday.

The strikes carried out on the “orders of the head of government”, Abdelhamid Dbeibah, “successfully hit their targets”, it added in the text published on the Facebook page of the ministry’s press office, which gave no further details of the locations targeted.

According to local media, the sites affected are on the outskirts of Zawiya, a coastal town 45 km west of the capital, which for several weeks has been the scene of clashes between armed groups engaged in human trafficking and other activities such as fuel smuggling.

No official figures have been released for the moment, but Libyan news websites have indicated that the strikes were carried out by drones, reporting material damage in the area of the port of al-Maya, a small seaside town around thirty kilometers west of the capital, and in the Abu-Sourra sector, south of Zawiya.

Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, Libya has been plunged into chaos and division, with a proliferation of armed groups often operating with impunity.

These groups are often singled out for their illegal activities, including the trafficking of migrants, taking advantage of the chaos reigning in the country.