An investigative report by Al-Jazeera International has revealed unofficial collaboration between the Maltese authorities and the Haftar affiliated militia “Tariq bin Ziyad”, according to which the latter forces migrant boats to return to Libya.
Al-Jazeera indicated that it had tracked the maritime navigation data of the militia’s vessel, and found that it has been entering the Maltese search and rescue maritime area recurrently, in a way that the report considered was a discreet authorization by the Maltese authorities.
Al-Jazeera stated that it was able to confirm that this militia, which is linked to a list of atrocities including unlawful killings, torture, kidnappings and forced displacement, is involved in running a vessel that forcibly returns migrants from the sea.
In a similar context, the German “Sea Watch” organization had previously confirmed that the same militia had intercepted two boats carrying more than 100 irregular migrants and forcibly returned them to Libya, as well as threating the rescue teams of the Spanish “Open Arms” organization.
The organization had published a statement with attached images clarifying that the rescue teams received a distress call from a boat that was about to sink and were able to rescue 24 migrants, after which the militia’s vessel intercepted them and took away a number of migrants by force back to Libya after their boat was burnt.
In December 2022, Amnesty International accused the Tariq bin Ziyad militia which is part of Khalifa Haftar’s forces, of committing “crimes against humanity” against thousands of Libyans, migrants and refugees since 2016.
Source: Al Jazeera English + Sea Watch