On Wednesday, Libyan police managed to thwart the smuggling of migrants in the coastal city of Sabratha, west of Tripoli.
The Sabratha Security Directorate said in a statement that a human trafficking gang was attempting to carry out an operation in the coastal city.
The migrants were arrested, with their rubber boat and equipment confiscated.
“Members of the human smuggling gang fled, leaving behind five motorized vehicles at the crime scene,” the statement added.
The police confirmed that all the seizures were referred to the Criminal Investigation Department, and the necessary measures were taken to arrest the suspects.
The European Commission claimed that its efforts to shore up the Libyan Coast Guard is based on a “do no harm” principle, and saves lives.
Francisco Gaztelu Mezquiriz, a senior commission official, told European lawmakers on Thursday that the commission’s efforts in Libya are humanitarian in scope.
“We strongly believe that increasing the effectiveness of the Libyan search and rescue operations can only help to reduce the number of lives lost at sea,” Mezquiriz said.
“We’ll continue to strengthen Libya’s search and rescue capacity by delivering new vessels. We have to continue these efforts, we cannot stop these efforts. This includes the training of the guard on human rights,” he said.
However, a report out last month by the United Nations Human Rights Council uncovered further evidence of murder, torture, inhumane acts, rape, persecution, and enslavement of migrants in Libya.
“Claims made by the European Commission that it can stop migrant arrivals while respecting international obligations is nonsense,” Inma Vazquez, working for MSF said.
“The people keep escaping Libya because they are unsafe. They are unsafe in detention,” she added.
Some 60,000 people have tried to flee Libya by sea last year.