By Gabriel Harrison.
Tunis, 12 August 2017:
To block Libya’s southern border and so stem the flow of migrants would cost some $20 billion over the next 20 to 25 years, armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter has said.
“I have the elements, but I lack the resources,” he told the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
Hafter said the migrant problem cannot be solved on the Libyan coast, adding that if Libya stops the flow of migrants to Europe then Libya has to keep them. That, he said, is not possible. He thinks shoring up the 4,000 kilometre-long southern border is the best way to block the flow of sub-Saharan migrants.
He said wants to establish mobile camps spanning the southern border, each a maximum of 100 kilometres apart and each manned by 150 border guards.
He compared migration in Libya to that in Turkey, which receives $6 billion from the EU to control a smaller number of refugees coming from Syria and Iraq. In Libya, he said, there was a vast number of people coming from all over Africa.
Hafter said that French President Emmanuel Macron asked what the Libyan National Army (LNA) would need to close the border to migrants and Hafter said he is preparing a list for him. It will include an array of military assistance from training border guards to weapons and ammunitions, armoured vehicles, drones, mine detectors, night vision binoculars and helicopters.