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GNA keeps coast guards rejected by the EU

The Address | Benghazi – Libya

TRIPOLI – Libyans who were refused EU coast guard training are returning to work at the Libyan coast guard, for up to $150 per month, amid reports some are guilty of people-trafficking and belong to militias, EU Observer reported on Thursday.

The European Union has so far trained 237 Libyan coast guard officers as part of efforts to stop migrants from reaching Italy by boat.

Qassim Ayoub, spokesperson for Libya’s coast guard, told EU Observer on Tuesday that the EU has turned down some Schengen-visa requests and rejected other applicants for unknown reasons.

“People who are refused EU training return to work. We have received no proof, or documents, that they did something wrong,” he said.

He was unable to say how many had been denied EU training. The European Commission would not share the figure either “since this regards an ongoing military operation,” it said.

The risk of training unvetted workers was recently highlighted when a Libyan coast guard commander in Zawiyah was put on an international sanctions list for smuggling and people-trafficking.

Abd al-Rahman Milad, more commonly known as ‘Bija’, would send his coast guard boats to sea, pick up migrants, and turn them over to the Nasr detention centre in Zawiyah.

In May 2017, he travelled to Rome to participate in an EU-funded workshop hosted by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). He stayed at the four-star Hotel Clodio, where he also met Italian officials, reported the Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting.

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