Libyan Coast Guard officials are paid to protect migrants from making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean. The video was recorded in 2017, however, a damning UN investigation revealed these so-called protectors may actually be in cahoots with traffickers working to smuggle desperate African migrants into Europe.
According Daily Mail, British taxpayers and the EU (European Union) have already shelled out $210 million to Libya to deter migrants from making the treacherous journey. Roughly 800 migrants have drowned this year alone and thousands more deaths are expected, as migrants continue setting off in dangerously overcrowded rafts in hopes of reaching freedom.
The money for what was supposed to go toward training and rescue equipment for Libyan coast guard officials was instead spent on patrol vessels meant to terrorize boatfuls of African migrants, according to the investigation.
Abd Al Rahman al-Milad, the head of the coast guard unit in Zawiya, has been outed as a human trafficking kingpin working side-by-side with criminals to smuggle African migrants into Europe illegally. The UN investigation found that Milad, who once fought to overthrow dictator Muammar Gadaffi, shot at boats carrying migrants who paid his rivals, essentially sinking their vessels.
Milad and his crew have even attacked international rescue vessels and reportedly stripped the outboard motors of rival boats, leaving them floating and stranded in the middle of the Mediterranean.
“Milad and other coastguard members have been directly involved in the sinking of migrant boats using firearms, some reportedly in an attempt to undermine the smuggling business of his and (Mohammed) Kachlaf’s competitors,” the UN Treasury said in a statement.
The Treasury also alleged that a member of Milad’s coastguard unit was caught on camera striking migrants with a bullwhip aboard a small rubber boat last year.
As an associate to Milad, Kachlaf, is said to have run a illicit detention center for migrants captured at sea. As head of the al-Nasr armed militia, Kachlaf and his gang routinely beat and abused the migrants; the men were auctioned off as slaves while the women sold for sex, according to the report. There have also been several reports of rape, disease and deaths as a result of the inhumane conditions.
The UN Security Council has since stepped in, announcing financial and travel sanctions against Milad and five others, Daily Mail reported. Their assets have been frozen globally, essentially confining them to Libya.
“There must be accountability for exploitation and human rights abuses,” UN Security Council General Antonio Guterres said in a statement, welcoming the sanctions.