U.S., Italy to Train New Libyan Security Force

The United States and Italy will train a new Libyan security force as part of an effort to stem ongoing instability in the North African country. The Washington Post reports that the new security organization, known as the General Purpose Force, will begin by providing security for government installations, but the Obama administration hopes it will be the nucleus of a new national army. The U.S. and Italy will train 5,000 to 8,000 troops – largely drawn from existing militias – outside of the country, and much of the focus will be promoting allegiance to the new government. Two years after Libya’s bloody rebellion that led to the ouster and death of longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, the country has seen bloodshed and chaos from myriad armed groups. In October, Libya’s prime minister Ali Zeidan was kidnapped in broad daylight by a militia and later released. The new security force will be trained to “NATO standards,” the Post reports. Turkey is also conducting military training for Libyan forces and Gulf states have provided support for favored groups. [Washington Post]

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Armed Men Steal $54m in Cash in Libya

Ten heavily armed men reportedly made off with approximately $54m in several currencies after executing a high-stakes heist near the Libyan city of Sirte on Monday. The bandits attacked a van as it was transporting the money from the airport to a central bank branch in Sirte. The van was reportedly escorted by one security vehicle; however, the accompanying guards were unable to fend off the heavily armed thieves. According to the AFP, robbers hit two banks in Sirte in July and stole approximately $400,000. Following the collapse of the Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship in 2011, the weak central government has failed to rein in the myriad armed militias active across the country. Earlier this month, a former rebel group briefly kidnapped interim Libya’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan in the increasingly lawless state. [Al Jazeera]b.gif?host=world.time.com&blog=19871253&post=112268&subd=timeglobalspin&ref=&feed=1

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In Libya, Migrants Face Ordeals at Sea and in Jail

(SABRATHA, Libya) — The first time the young mother tried to flee to Europe on a rickety boat of fellow migrants from Africa, the overcrowded vessel quickly broke down and filled with water, forcing it to return to the Libyan coast. The second time, she was arrested and placed in a mosquito-infested Libyan detention center, where she has languished for months. She says she lives on bread and water, with only milk for her 8-month-old girl, and is beaten by guards with a hose if she complains. “They beat us like goats,” said Beauty Osaha, 23, who headed north from her native Nigeria in hopes of a better life. She said the guards at the facility in the ancient city of Sabratha search migrants’ bodies, including their private parts, looking for money or smuggled phones. Libya’s chaos in the two years following the overthrow of dictator Moammar Gadhafi has turned the country into a prime springboard for tens of thousands of migrants, mainly from Africa, trying to reach Europe in rickety, crowded boats. With police and the military in disarray, human smuggling has reached the level of a mafia-style organized industry in which Libya’s militias have gotten involved, according to activists and police. The danger of the sea journey became particularly clear this month, with three deadly wrecks of migrant boats coming from Libya. At least 365 people, mostly Eritreans fleeing repression in their homeland, died on Oct. 3 when their boat from Libya sank off the Italian island of Lampedusa — one of the worst verified migrant tragedies in the Mediterranean. Detention by Libyan militias is the migrants’ other potential ordeal. Activists say militias hold migrants in stores, schools and abandoned buildings as well as detention centers, abusing them and holding them hostage until they receive money from the migrants’ families. Then the migrants are freed, only to try again. “In these prisons, the principles of the Feb. 17 Revolution are being toppled down. The Libyan authorities must put an end to those pirates,” a Libyan rights group called…………

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Official: Ousted Libyan Dictator’s Son To Face Trial in August

(TRIPOLI, Libya) — A Libyan official says the trial of ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s son, his spy chief and his last prime minister will take place in August. Al-Seddik al-Sur of the state prosecutor’s office told reporters Monday that Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, Abdullah al-Senoussi and ex-premier al-Baghdadi al-Mahmoudi, along with ex-spokesman Milad Daman, will be tried for crimes committed during under Gadhafi’s 42-year rule and during the eight-month civil war that deposed him. Last week Libya appealed the International Criminal Court’s order to try Seif al-Islam in The Hague. Libya also asked for suspension of its order to him over to the ICC. Seif al-Islam is being held by a militia in the Libyan town of Zintan. ICC judges ruled that Libya cannot give Seif al-Islam a fair trial.

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