By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 22 August 2015:
Two of four Libyans arrested as people smugglers by the Italian authorities were in fact Benghazi . . .[restrict]footballers hoping for a chance to play for a European team, it has been claimed today.
Tareq Alamami Monsife and Abdul Rahman are reported to be members of the Al-Tahadi team, who had decided to reach Europe as part of the multinational flow of illegal migrants. A third alleged Libyan smuggler, also from the east, is an unnamed individual who spent some months in Tunis trying unsuccessfully to obtain a Schengen visa from Germany. The Libya Herald has been unable to discover any information on the fourth suspect held by the Italians.
According to Libyan diplomatic source in Rome, all the Italians will say is that they have arrest four Arabs.
In a separate incident six Egyptian people-smugglers are reported to have been picked up after a vessel they were aboard ran aground on the coast of Sicily.
Meanwhile the tide of migrants continues to flow from Libya toward Europe. Yesterday up to 3,000 people were picked up in four wooden boats and 14 rubber rafts. The multinational operation coordinated by the Italian coastguard in Naples included the Norwegian ship, Siem Pilot which normally works in the North Sea as an offshore supply vessel. Agence France Presse reports that the Norwegians had already rescued 320 migrants when they were sent to help pick up migrants from more vessels not far off the Libyan coast. Last week the Siem Pilot helped in the rescue of 300 people from an old trawler which led to the discovery of 49 more migrants in the hold, where they had been poisoned by diesel fumes.
In separate incidents in June, the Norwegian supply vessel plucked more than 1,000 migrants from three unseaworthy vessels. [/restrict]