Arrest of Human Trafficker Al-Bija: Paris Welcomes, Demands Bashagha Arrests Badi – Al Marsad

The French Embassy in Libya has welcomed the announcement by the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by the designate Minister of Interior Fathi Bashagha, of the arrest of Abdel Rahman Milad, nicknamed “Al-Bija”, the notorious migrant smuggler and leading figure in the Volcano of Anger.

(Libya, 16 October 2020) – In a statement, the French Embassy stated: “Fighting the crimes of human traffickers is necessary in Libya and the world,” noting that the arrest of Bija was in implementation of the decisions of the Libyan judiciary and the United Nations Security Council’s (UNSC) Sanctions Committee.

While several observers and those interested in public affairs welcomed Bija’s arrest as a blow to the illicit activities of human trafficking in Libya, they called on Bashagha to arrest Salah Badi as well given that he was subject to international sanctions by the UNSC—like Bija.

The leaders of armed groups from the city of Zawiya claimed that Bashagha has ordered the arrest of Bija in particular rather than all those wanted because of Bija’s confirmation of the presence of Syrian mercenaries in western Libya and their association with Fathi Bashagha.

In September 2019, Bashagha defended Badi and claimed that he was not wanted internationally. He even went further as to claim that the Speaker of the House of Representatives (HoR), Counselor Aguila Saleh, is subject to the same sanctions imposed on Badi. In a later meeting, Bashagha defended the battalion led by Badi and argued it had done nothing wrong or criminal, as he put it.

However, Bashagha has ignored that the sanctions imposed on Saleh, lifted last month, due to “obstructing the Skhirat Agreement” were European and not international while those imposed on Badi are due to obstruction of the political process and killing civilians.

Salah Badi Causes Huge Embarrassment for Tripoli’s GNA

An extract of the US sanctions against Badi as a planner for the ominous Operation Libya Dawn and a destroyer of Tripoli airport resulting in the loss of USD 2 billion, weakening the government, and turning against the elected parliament, which led to the deterioration of the country in an unprecedented way since 2011.

A previous report by the UNSC’s Sanctions Committee and another by the US State Department had identified the “Operation Libya Dawn” as a reason for the destruction of the political process. It is noteworthy that in 2014, Badi and Bashagha led Operation Libya Dawn according to the statement of Major General Osama al-Juwaili, the Commander of the Western Military Region of the Presidential Council.

© Al Marsad English (2020)