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    Migrants in a boat arrive at a naval base after they were rescued by Libyan coastguard, in Tripoli, Libya, October 17, 2017

    Situation With Migrants in Libya a 'Big Problem' – Lawmaker

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    Refugees detained at sea by EU-supported Libyan coastguards have paid bribes for their release, according to an exclusive report by The Independent. Speaking to Sputnik, Abu Bakr Baira, member of Libyan parliament, has expressed serious concern about the issue.

    Libyan MP Abu Bakr Baira described the issue of refugees reportedly paying for their release as "a big problem that comes amid tough times that the people are going through."

    "Human trafficking has [already] spread. On the Libyan coast, thousands of people have profited from the trade and the transportation of migrants by sea," he said adding that the Mediterranean coastline in Libya stretches for at least 2,000 kilometers, which makes the illegal sea crossing quite feasible.

    He added that the issue of illegal migration from Libya to Europe caused an outcry from the international community and the UN.

    In this vein, Baira specifically pointed to the temporary detention centers for migrants in Libya, which has been in the grip of chaos since 2011 when the country's long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled and then killed.

    Migrants ride in a boat after they were rescued by Libyan coastguard off the coast of Gharaboli, east of Tripoli, Libya July 8, 2017
    © REUTERS / Ismail Zitouny
    Migrants ride in a boat after they were rescued by Libyan coastguard off the coast of Gharaboli, east of Tripoli, Libya July 8, 2017

    According to Baira, "some call the conditions in these centers inhuman, with the situation being complicated by the lack of state control."

    "The economic situation and administrative corruption [in Libya] may be the cause of increasing bribery and nepotism. It is rather easy to buy detained migrants from these temporary centers. This information is not confirmed, but everything is possible in the current chaos," he concluded. 

    Baira's remarks came after The Independent published a report that the UK-supported Libyan coastguard is illegally capitalizing on detaining the refugees, exposing them to brutal violence and releasing them only after payment.

    Right now, Libya's eastern regions are governed by the elected parliament backed by the Libyan National Army, headquartered in the city of Tobruk.

    The Government of National Accord, formed with the support from the United Nations and Europe and headed by Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj, operates in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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