Libyan police say they have detained dozens of migrants following a raid
Published by Infomigrants on : 16/08/2022
“Many migrants” were arrested and detained following raids in Tripoli, authorities in western Libya said on Monday, announcing a crackdown on crime. A Libyan militant, however, said the raids were a “propaganda campaign” to cover up the killings of migrants.
Authorities in western Libya claimed to have rounded up dozens of migrants in the early morning of Monday 15 August in Tripoli. The raids on migrants’ homes were carried out near a neighbourhood in the capital called ‘Airport Road’. “Many” migrants were arrested and are now detained, police said in a statement, without providing further details on the exact number of people involved and where they are being held.
However, police released photos showing several dozen migrants sitting on the ground surrounded by armed uniformed officers in an open space.
According to the police, the raids were organised in retaliation for increased crime in the area. They cite cases of prostitution, theft and drug trafficking. According to the police, this increase in crime is due to immigrants. However, the authorities have not provided any concrete evidence of their guilt.
Judicial measures have been taken against these migrants, the police say, without giving further details.
Raids to ‘cover up’ migrant killings
Far from official communication, some people on the spot point to a strategy of the authorities to cover up an incident that took place over the weekend. According to Tarik Lamloum, a Libyan activist from the ‘human rights’ organisation Belaady, quoted by the Associated Press, two migrants were killed in Tripoli, in the area targeted by Monday’s raids, after being hit by a vehicle. The men were working as waste pickers for a company run by the authorities.
On Sunday, according to the activist, a funeral was held in their honour attended by dozens of migrants. According to the activist, Monday’s raids were only meant to divert attention from the killings: he assures that a Libyan man ran over the two migrants with his vehicle before fleeing.
“It is a propaganda campaign,” said Tarik Lamloum. “Most migrants in this area are workers in workshops, on farms, they are not ‘criminals’ as they say.”
Migrants are regularly targeted in Libya, a country in chaos since 2011. In Tripoli and throughout the country there are several detention centres, official and unofficial. According to activists, many migrants are detained in deplorable conditions and are frequently abused.
Authorities collaborating with criminal groups
Authorities detained a total of over 5,000 migrants in Libya in 2021 alone, justifying their actions as a campaign against drug trafficking and human trafficking. However, there are many reports of Libyan officials also being actively involved in facilitating the smuggling of people over the Mediterranean to Europe.
The repressive measures against the migrant population included harassment in their homes, physical violence and shootings with firearms.