Libya’s coast guard rescues 235 migrants off western coast

A handout photo released on September 24, 2018 by SOS Mediterranee shows migrants rest after being rescued by the Aquarius rescue ship run by non-governmental organizations (NGO) “SOS Mediterranee” and “Medecins Sans Frontieres” (Doctors without Borders) in the search and rescue zone off the coast of Libya, in the Mediterranean Sea, on September 24. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Libya’s coast guard rescues 235 migrants off western coast

  • Libya is the main departure point for Europe-bound migrants fleeing poverty and conflict
  • The coast guard rescued 190 migrants on board two inflatable boats off the port of Khoms

TRIPOLI: Libya’s coast guard rescued 235 migrants in three separate operations on Sunday night off its western coast, a naval forces spokesman said.
Western Libya is the main departure point for Europe-bound migrants fleeing poverty and conflict, although many drown in the attempt.
The coast guard rescued 190 migrants on board two inflatable boats off the port of Khoms, Naval forces spokesman Ayoub Qassem told Reuters. A group of 45 others were picked up on board a wooden boat about 50 miles (80 kms) off Zuwarah.
They included 20 women and two children, the source said.
The number of crossings has sharply dropped since July 2017 when an armed group expelled human traffickers from a smuggling hub after an Italy-backed deal.
Aquarius 2, the one charity rescue vessel still operating in the central Mediterranean, has had its registration revoked by the Panama Maritime Authority in a move that means there will be no charity rescue ships off the Libyan coast in the near future unless the vessel can find a new flag to sail under.
Tripoli and western Libya are run by a UN-backed government mainly supported by armed groups, while eastern Libya is controlled by a rival administration. The country has been riven by conflict since Muammar Qaddafi was toppled in 2011.


Yemen’s Hodeidah calm after cease-fire takes effect

Updated 18 December 2018
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Yemen’s Hodeidah calm after cease-fire takes effect

  • Yemen’s flashpoint city of Hodeida was calm on Tuesday after the UN-brokered cease-fire started at midnight
  • An agreement reached after talks in Sweden last week calls for the withdrawal of both sides’ forces from Hodeidah

Yemen’s flashpoint city of Hodeida was calm on Tuesday after the UN-brokered cease-fire started at midnight, pro-government sources and residents said.
“There has been complete calm since 03:00 am Yemen time (1200 GMT) in the city of Hodeida,” a military source loyal to the government told AFP on Tuesday.
The cease-fire agreement struck at the UN-sponsored peace talks in Sweden came into effect at midnight Monday.
Residents said that daily fighting would usually be fierce in the evening and at night, before coming to a standstill at dawn.
The two warring sides have however welcomed the truce in the strategic Red Sea province.

The Saudi-led coalition supporting Yemen’s government against Iran-backed Houthi militias “has no intention of violating the agreement ... unless the Houthis violate and dishonor it,” a coalition official said.
An agreement reached after talks in Sweden last week calls for the withdrawal of both sides’ forces from Hodeidah within 21 days and the deployment of international monitors. The Houthis are due to surrender control of the port by midnight on Dec. 31.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to propose a surveillance team of up to to 40 observers, diplomats said.
Hodeidah residents reported sporadic fighting to the east and south of the city on Monday before the cease-fire took hold, and a government military official said a fire had broken out in a factory in the east of the city after airstrikes on Sunday night.

(With AFP)