Libya confirms it rescued 290 migrants in Mediterranean

Humanitarian groups object to returning migrants to lawless Libya, citing reports of abuse, beatings and other inhuman treatment. (File/AP)
Updated 24 May 2019

Libya confirms it rescued 290 migrants in Mediterranean

  • Friday’s statement from the navy says the Libyan coast guards found a sinking rubber boat whose bottom had collapsed on Thursday
  • It says the migrants — Arab and African nationals — were handed over to Libyan police after receiving humanitarian and medical aid

CAIRO: Libya's navy confirmed on Friday that it rescued three boats carrying a total of 290 Europe-bound migrants off the country's Mediterranean coast, a day after a German aid group released video showing a sinking raft packed with dozens of migrants, with some people scattered in the sea.
Libyan coast guards first reported finding a sinking rubber boat whose bottom had collapsed on Thursday, leaving most migrants in the water and hanging onto what was left of the boat and plastic barrels. A statement posted Friday on the navy press center's official Facebook page says that boat carried 87 migrants, including six women and a child.
Earlier, the coast guard came to the rescue of two other rubber boats carrying a total of 203 migrants, according to a separate statement.
The three boats carried mostly Arab and African nationals as well as 14 Bangladeshis, who were handed over to Libyan police after receiving humanitarian and medical aid.
A few hours earlier, German aid group Sea-Watch said its aircraft had witnessed three rescue operations by Libyan coast guards on Thursday.
Libya became a major conduit for African migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe after the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed dictator Moammar Gadhafi and amid the subsequent chaos and turmoil that engulfed the oil-rich North African country.
Thousands have perished while making the perilous sea crossing, while others have been detained and abused in Libya by smugglers and armed groups.


Arabs reject religion’s role in politics

Updated 3 min 31 sec ago

Arabs reject religion’s role in politics

  • Appeal of militant groups such as the Al Qaidam Daesh, Hezbollah, Muslim Brotherhood and Taliban are in decline, poll suggests
  • The YouGov survey was commissioned by Arab News in partnership with the Arab Strategy Forum, which takes place today in Dubai

DUBAI: Militant groups in the Arab world face a gradual decline and most Arabs oppose the use of religion for political gain, a new survey suggests.

The appeal of extremists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas, Al-Qaeda, Daesh and the Taliban is likely to fade over the next 10 years, researchers found.

The survey indicates that most Arabs view corruption as the main problem in their home country and the leading cause of conflict in the Arab world.

 

Daesh (Islamic State) fighters march in Raqqa, Syria, at the height of their power in 2014. (AP file photo)

Researchers also found overwhelming approval for developments in female empowerment such as Saudi women driving and a new inheritance law in Tunisia, and most Arabs expect further progress in their own countries in the next 10 years.

The survey’s findings on political Islam were “good news” for the region, said political science professor Dr. Abdulkhaleq Abdulla. The Middle East had had enough of extremism and Arabs realized that political groups based on religion were “taking them nowhere,” Abdulla told Arab News.

“Indeed, we have seen the ugly face of it during the four to five years of Daesh’s control of large areas in Syria and Iraq. So it is natural to see there is a decline in the popularity of these parties. But much more important are the predictions that support for religious parties, whether moderate or extremist, is in sharp decline.

Opinion

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“People are becoming aware that there has been some kind of abuse and overuse of people’s emotions for political gains by these religious movements. The foremost is the Muslim Brotherhood, which is going through its worst moment.”

The YouGov survey was commissioned by Arab News in partnership with the Arab Strategy Forum, which takes place today in Dubai. The 12th annual event will explore events and trends expected over the next 10 years, with 18 key speakers including former ministers, government officials, industry experts, international strategists, writers and media professionals.