By Adjnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 8 March 2016:
Details are still emerging of what appears to have been a major smuggling plot at Mitiga . . .[restrict]airport on Sunday.
Gold and cash are said to have been found onboard a Libyan Wings flight heading to Istanbul which was told to return to Mitiga some half an hour into its flight.
There are conflicting reports of how the gold was discovered and how much.
One widely-reported version quotes security at Mitiga airport claiming that more than three hundred kilogrammes of gold, as well as well as €1.7 million euros, $500,000 and undisclosed amounts in other currencies were found and that five people had been arrested.
The report also says that the plane was ordered to turn back after the crew said that there were bags of gold on board.
Another report puts the amount at a more modest seven kilos of gold, that security forces were tipped off about the smuggling and that they then ordered it to return.
The first claim appears wholly unrealistic. For the crew to have discovered the gold means that it was in the cabin, not in the hold. However, three hundred kilos of gold would require some ten large suitcases. Even in lawless Libya, these would not have been allowed in the cabin.
Suggestions are being made that the ground staff or those connected to the airline were involved. However, no evidence to that effect has been disclosed.
Indeed, no evidence of anything has been disclosed. [/restrict]