EU Millions Pouring Into Libya Lining Pockets of Warlords and Criminal Gangs

TOPSHOT - Migrants wait to be rescued by the Aquarius rescue ship run by non-governmental organisations (NGO) 'SOS Mediterranee' and 'Medecins Sans Frontieres' (Doctors Without Borders) in the Mediterranean Sea, 30 nautic miles from the Libyan coast, on August 2, 2017. Italy on August 2, 2017 began enforcing a controversial …

A new review of European Union (EU) money being spent in Libya to help curb the flow of migrants has shown that the money is actually lining the pockets of warlords and people-smuggling networks.

The EU has spent millions of euros in recent years in order to stop the large-scale flow of illegal migrants from Libya. But according to a review of where the funds have ended up, much of the money has gone towards the very groups helping to facilitate illegal migration, Sverige Radio reports.

So far, the political bloc has spent 327.9 million euros, with another 41 million earmarked in the future. While some of the money has gone through United Nations officials, internal emails revealed by the Associated Press (AP) show that the officials knew some of the cash had been funnelled to criminals.

AP also noted the cooperation between the Libyan coast guard and militias stating that the militias “torture, extort and otherwise abuse migrants for ransoms in detention centres under the nose of the U.N., often in compounds that receive millions in European money”.

The revelations are a blow to the EU, which has spent millions on training the Libyan coastguard along with the Italian government which handed the Libyans ten boats to use for coast guard patrol activities.

The UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) went as far as admitting that they often work with individuals linked to militias, saying: “Without those contacts, it would be impossible to operate in those areas and for IOM to provide support services to migrants and the local population.”

The accusations are not the first time a government has been accused of working with militias and warlords in Libya to halt the number of illegal migrants coming across the Mediterranean sea.

In 2017, it was claimed that the Italian government had given money to Libyan warlord and former people smuggler Ahmed Dabaschi, also known as “al Ammu”, and his 500-man militia to prevent boats from leaving the Libyan coast. The Italian government denied the accusations at the time.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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