(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Rear Admiral Enrico Credendino, the EU’s commander for Operation Sophia, said that Libya’s coastal cities are making $346 million from the illegal smuggling business.
The EU launched Operation Sophia last year as a naval operation to regulate the flow of refugees and migrants fleeing to Europe across the Mediterranean.
Credendino cited a confidential EU review report for Operation Sophia which was issued on Wednesday to EU member states. The Associated Press, who were able to obtain a copy of the report, did not share any information regarding how the EU figured out how much Libyan cities were making from the illegal business.
Also, EU officials would not respond to questions about the report on Thursday.
The admiral said the smuggling business was a “major source of income among locals in Libyan coastal cities.”
Terrorist groups operating in Libya are also taking advantage of Libya’s instability by “financially exploiting” routes used by smugglers in the African Sahel region and Libya.
The civil unrest after the 2011 uprising left the country, which had been under the corrupt leadership of dictator Muammar Gaddafi for over four decades, in absolute chaos and instability.