Ninety Egyptian migrants freed from Libyan detention centre

Newly reopened Egyptian embassy in Tripoli secures release of inmates been held for three days on illegal immigration charges

Mohamed Tharwat, the head of the Egyptian diplomatic mission in the Libyan capital, stands with freed Egyptian nationals in Libya. Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, HO
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Ninety Egyptian migrants have been released from a detention centre in Tripoli through the co-operation of Egyptian and Libyan authorities.

The Egyptian citizens, who mainly come from a small village in Minya in Upper Egypt, were held since Friday on illegal immigration charges.

The Egyptian embassy in Tripoli resolved the matter with the help of the Libyan Interior Minister and municipal authorities, said Mohamed Tharwat, the head of the diplomatic mission in Tripoli.

Mr Tharwat expressed thanks for their tireless efforts, reflecting the close ties between the two countries.

Egypt and Libya have recently re-established relations after the end of the Second Libyan Civil War, which lasted between 2014 and October 2020.

Flights between the two countries have resumed and the embassy reopened in May after seven years.

It was shut in January 2014 after an attack on the consulate by gunmen and the kidnapping of four Egyptian staff.

Berlin talks on Libya on Wednesday aim to prepare the country for elections in December and the withdrawal of foreign forces.

Before 2011, Libya was a significant destination for migrant workers, but more recently has become a major smuggling centre, the International Organisation for Migration said in a 2020 report.

In 2018, the IOM helped more than 16,000 migrants return home after they had been detained or stranded in Libya, some at the hands of smugglers and traffickers.

"The release of a number of Egyptian migrants detained in Libya is a welcome development," Carmela Godeau, IOM's Mena regional director, told The National.

“IOM has been and will continue to advocate for the need to close all migration detention centres in Libya and for the release of migrants and asylum seekers, along with the provision of protection and assistance."