GNA’s Namroush Brings UN-Sanctioned Criminal Al-Kassab Back to Business – Al Marsad

UN-sanctioned human trafficker and fuel smuggler Mohammed Kachlaf (al-Kassab)’s presence at the headquarters of the Petroleum Facilities Guard (PFG) near the Zawiya Oil Refining Company does not bode well for the Libyan Government of National Accord’s (GNA) purported war against lawless militias. It is yet another proof of the strength of the ties between the UN-recognised GNA and the criminal and extremist underworld in Libya.

(Libya, 18 December 2020) – UN-sanctioned Mohammed Kachlaf (“al-Kassab”) is commander of the Nasr Martyrs Brigade which is affiliated with the Petroleum Installations Guard (PFG) of the GNA and one of Libya’s most notorious human traffickers and fuel smugglers of the Zawiya mafia who has friends in high places in the GNA. The presence of al-Kassab at a recent event at the headquarters of the Petroleum Facilities Guard raises question marks on the GNA’s seriousness to rein in illegal militias.

GNA’s Defence Ministry said on its official page on Thursday: “On the instructions of the Defence Minister, Salah al-Din al-Namroush, a number of officers from the Ministry last Tuesday visited the headquarters of the Petroleum Facilities Guard. They were received by the head of the Guard, Brigadier-General Ali Mohammed Al-Deeb, and a number of officers and directors of the Guard.”

Al-Kassab attended the meeting called by al-Namroush at the headquarters of the Petroleum Facilities Guard.

The photos published by the ministry showed al-Kassab sitting in the first row of the attendees. His attendance comes after the arrest of his close partner Abd al-Rahman al-Milad (al-Bija), in Tripoli in mid-October. GNA’s Minister of Interior Fathi Bashagha had made countless promises to the international community that he was determined to control lawless militias and mafias but developments in Tripoli seem to indicate the opposite.

The ministry said that the meeting attended by al-Kassab discussed the training and coordination of work between them and ways to support the PFG financially and technically, implying that al-Namroush is condoning the presence of militias and rallying financial support for the internationally-sanctioned warlord.

Al-Kassab has been controlling the Zawiya Oil Refining Company for several years, despite claims by Mustafa Sanallah of the National Oil Corporation (NOC) of his efforts to curb al-Kassab’s smuggling and extortion rackets. Al-Kassab’s appearance at the Ministry of Defence’s headquarters and talk of funding contradicts claims by Sanallah.

At the end of its statement, the Ministry of Defence expressed “its admiration and appreciation of what its delegation saw during the visit to the PFG headquarters”, and the effort of its staff to secure oil sites in various Libyan regions.

ZAWIYA’S MILLIONAIRE

Al-Kassab is one of the richest criminals not only in the city Zawiya but also in the entire west coast of Libya. He made his fortune from smuggling fuel from the refinery and selling it at double the real price. Al-Kassab disappeared from the scene for a while with the arrest of the UN-sanctioned al-Bija, who is a long-standing friend. With the oil blockade his profits and activities declined but he resurfaced again now that oil is back in production.

Earlier this year Turkish drones had carried out air strikes on key locations dominated by small-scale smugglers. The GNA said it was a campaign to combat smuggling, yet there were concerns from some quarters that the government crackdown on smuggling is restricted to certain targets and not UN-sanctioned criminals such as al-Kassab.

Khaled Al-Mishri Shows Solidarity with the UN-Sanctioned Fuel Smuggler Kachlaf

© AlMarsad English (2020)

FURTHER RESOURCES

The Smuggler, the Medical Centre, and the Trafficker: Al-Kassab and Al-Bija

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