Libyan forces aligned with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) have announced the arrest of a man believed to be one of the barons of illegal migration and oil smuggling in Libya, called “king of smuggling”.
Known as Fahmi Salim Musa Bin Khalifa, the man was arrested Thursday in the port city of Zuwara, North-western Libya by RADA Special Deterrence Force in a complex operation.
Khalifa is described as one of the top “businessmen” behind migrants’ trafficking business across the Mediterranean. He is also believed involved in fuel smuggling in the city of Zuwara and neighboring cities of Zawia and Sabratha.
Following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011, Libya became the main spot of illegal migration along the South Mediterranean coast.
Close to 100, 000 migrants on makeshift boats have transited through the North African country to reach Europe’s southern coasts, mainly via Italy.
The GNA and Italy have stepped up actions against the illegal boats. Libyan coastguards have multiplied arrests, threatening even international charities saving the migrants at sea to seize their boats. Rome and Tripoli believe the charities are in connivance with the smugglers.
Thousands have been reported dead while trying the risky journey.
Khalifa is believed to own a transport network. He also owns property in Malta and Turkey and is working on constructing a tourist village in Zuwara, Libya Herald reports citing RADA forces.