In a confidential report by the UN to a Security Council committee, the UN say most armed groups involved in human trafficking in Libya have links to the country’s official security institutions.
These smugglers operating with impunity in Libya have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants to Europe, mainly Italy, by sea since 2014 with thousands losing their lives in the process.
“Armed groups, which were party to larger political-military coalitions, have specialised in illegal smuggling activities, notably human smuggling and trafficking,” experts reported to the 15-member Security Council committee.
They said most of these armed groups “were nominally affiliated to official security institutions.”
The experts were reporting on an arms embargo and targeted sanctions that the UN Security Council imposed on Libya in 2011 when former leader Muammar Gaddafi’s forces cracked down on pro-democracy protesters.
Eritrean migrants told the sanctions monitors they had been arrested by the Special Deterrence Force, SDF, which is an armed group affiliated with the internationally recognised Government of National Accord’s Ministry of Interior, the report said.
The migrants said the Special Deterrence Force handed them to various smuggling rings.
“The panel is assessing whether the SDF’s leadership was aware of collusion and trafficking being conducted within its ranks,” the sanctions monitors wrote.