Source: Libya Address
TRIPOLI – A Libyan human trafficker, who is under sanctions by the United Nations, was reappointed as head of Zawiya Coast Guard, UN official said.
Vincent Cochetel, Special Envoy of the UNHCR for the Central Mediterranean, stated in a tweet today that Abd al Rahman al-Milad, known as the “Bedja”, was reappointed as head of Zawiya Coast Guard.
“Well-known UN sanctioned human trafficker re-appointed as Head of Azzawyah Coast Guards in Libya. Who took this decision? Who is accountable?,” Cochetel stated.
Cochetel’s remarks came three days after Al-Milad told Italian newspaper L’Espresso that he received “an official letter” to return to his post as as head of Zawiya Coast Guard two weeks ago.
Al-Milad found himself in the center of new controversy after Italian newspaper Avvenire reported in early October that he attended a meeting in Sicily on May 11, 2017, with Italian officials, as a member of a delegation of the Libyan Coast Guard.
Citing a source who attended the meeting at the Cara de Menio Refugee Center, the newspaper said Al-Milad had participated as a “Libyan Coast Guard leader” and asked Italian authorities for funding to organize a “reception of migrants” in Libya.
In an interview with L’Espresso, Al-Milad said he received an invitation, through the Libyan Coast Guard, from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
He said he met with Italian officials during his 2017 trip, but when asked whether or not he met former Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti, he said he cannot remember.
In a statement to L’Espresso, Minniti denied meeting Al-Milad.
A few months after his visit to Italy, the UN imposed sanctions against him and five other people, considered to be the most dangerous traffickers in Libya.
A UN security report published in June 2017 described him as a bloodthirsty human trafficker responsible for shootings at sea and suspected of drowning dozens of people. He is considered to be the leader of a criminal organisation operating in the Zawiya area in north-west Libya, about 28 miles west of Tripoli.
The Interior Ministry of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) released a statement two days ago, denying any links between the ministry and Al-Milad.
The ministry maintained that Al-Milad was never one of its employees, stressing that he works for the Coast Guard.