Libya. ‘Bija’, the boss of migrant smuggling, arrested

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 Libya. 'Bija', the boss of migrant smuggling, arrested







© Provided by AGI



AGI – The deterrent forces teams of the Ministry of the Interior Government of Tripoli have arrested Abd al-Rahman al-Milad, known as “Bija”. He is one of the most powerful human traffickers in Libya, who has ended up in the crosshairs of UN sanctions. His arrest took place in the Libyan capital in the afternoon.

‘Bija’ is one of Libya’s most powerful human traffickers, despite his young age: he was wanted by the Libyan capital’s prosecutor’s office since October 2019. But his name had already ended up on the list of sanctions by the UN Security Council (in June 2018) for his role in the trafficking of desperate people the year before. And the Hague International Criminal Court investigates its violations, which are among the crimes against humanity. According to UN experts, Bija is also considered to be the head of a criminal organization that occupies every sector of the Zawya region, fifty kilometers west of Tripoli. It also played a leading role in the last war in the Libyan capital.

The meeting at Cara di Mineo

Bija is also known in Italy for having participated in May 2017 in a meeting on immigration at Cara di Mineo, in Sicily, where the Italian and Libyan authorities were present, according to what emerged from a burning investigation by the newspaper Avvenire. He probably showed up with fake IDs. Because Bija had introduced himself as a 31-year-old Libyan Coast Guard officer, graduated from the Naval Academy, and serving for the country. A man therefore who claims to save people, not to exploit them. But there are also videos of him shooting at sea against the rubber boats of migrants who tried to reach the European coasts.

“I am a national hero, and I have never been a criminal. I have never taken money to smuggle with people”, he said only on July 5th in an interview. “The reports of the Security Council and the Sanctions Committee against me are based on an article by a journalist named ‘Nancy'”: the reference is probably to Nancy Porsia, the Italian journalist who with Nello Scavo told the misdeeds of the Bija.

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