Italy reports decline in migration, denies support to armed groups

On 30 August, Italy denied its involvement in a deal with Libyan armed groups involved in human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea. The AP reported the day before that an agreement supported by Italy would have the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli to pay and provide equipment to militias to prevent migrant vessels from reaching Europe.

The number of migrants using the Mediterranean route decreased by 86 % in August compared with the same month last year. It is believed that strengthened activity of the Libyan Coast Guard, unfavourable weather, limitation of the activities of NGOs and several other factors could play a role. The media have already reported about a new armed group operating around the coastal town of Sabratha, and now the possible support of the GNA for the two main militias involved in human trafficking, known as "Al-Ammu" and "Brigade 48", in exchange for limited activity, which also could have contributed to the decline in migration in the usually busiest period. Such a support for armed groups could contribute to a chaotic security situation in Libya where stronger groups could turn against the UN-backed government. Experts agree that militia cooperation can not be relied on, thus a long-term trend can not be seen in this extreme decline.

About author: Dominika Jandová

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