Interior Minister denies using excessive force against migrants
Ministry of Interior Khaled Mazen has refuted reports accusing Libyan security forces of using excessive force against illegal migrants caught in recent security operations launched in Gargaresh neighbourhood west of Tripoli.
Mazen stated that security forces handled the situation "humanely and professionally" and admitted the migrants to a temporary gathering center.
Speaking to a local news outlet Saturday, minister Mazen insisted that "there was no ill-treatment nor any closed doors at the centre, and this accounts for the escaping of hundreds of migrants from the facility, as he put it.
The Libya mission head for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Federico Soda said that at least six migrants were shot dead at a Tripoli detention centre on Friday.
Addressing these reports, Minister Mazen said that only one person was killed during the breakout from the detention centre Friday, but that was because of the stampede during the fleeing process.
"There is no truth to rumors that any immigrant was killed by members of the Interior Ministry and the ministry had previously released many vulnerable groups of immigrants, including mothers and children."
Mazen hinted that there were problems among the migrants inside the facility, while Soda confirmed that overcrowding triggered chaos at the Ghot Shaal centre.
Dozens of migrants appeared in a video clip trying to make their way through a gap in a fence and larger numbers marching through Tripoli streets.
The minister confirmed that the authorities arrested some of those who had fled the detention centre Friday.
"So far, three African ambassadors have visited the migrants, and they were assured of the safety of their nationals at detention."
"The Human Rights Office in the Ministry of Interior is actively working in the field of the rights of immigrants and others, and it is not true that the office has been closed."
Mazen insisted that his ministry has been transparent in dealing with the migrant file and does not deny the occurrence of "individual mistakes that no institution is free from," but he underscored that they are keen on taking the necessary measures in this regard.