PHOTOS: NEMA Receives Another Batch Of 128 Nigerian Returnees From Libya

A photo collage of the returnees’ arrival.

 

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has received another batch of 128 stranded Nigerian returnees from Libya.

The Director-General of NEMA, Mustapha Ahmed, who was represented by the NEMA Lagos Territorial Office Coordinator, Ibrahim Farinloye, received the Voluntary Assisted Returnees at the Cargo Wing of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Ikeja on Tuesday evening.

The IOM-assisted returnees arrived aboard Al Buraq Air Boeing 100 – 800 with registration number 5A-DMG.

Profiles of the returnees indicated that 80 adult males, 8 male children, and 2 male infants along with 30 adult females, 4 female children, and 4 female infants, were voluntarily assisted back to the country by the IOM.

READ ALSO: [Mistreatment Claims] Nigeria, Other African Nations Scramble To Evacuate Citizens From Ukraine

 

A 29 years old distressed young woman, while narrating her ordeals, regretted how she had been misled by her mother to embark on a fruitless journey.

Miss Tosin Omole alleged that her mother was approached by a street sister who sweet-talked her into convincing her daughter to embark on the journey to Europe, but the final destination changed.

The unsuspecting victim obeyed her mother by embarking on the journey after pressures became unbearable; she left her three-month-old son behind in the care of her mum.

According to her, the child is bout 6 years old now.

 

Ms Omole narrated how the proposed journey to Europe became a hellish life of prostitution in Libya.

“My trafficker paid for the journey from Nigeria to Libya which started on 26th February 2016.

“Before leaving Nigeria, my trafficker had informed me that I will refund the money spent on me for the journey though she did not tell me the amount.

“I ended up paying her 2.2 million naira equivalent by engaging in aristo (prostitution) throughout my 6 years’ sojourn.

“After this, my initial trafficker sold me to another burga (trafficker), I paid 1 million to the new man, all the payment is through prostitution.

“Coming to Nigeria now with only 200,000 naira that I squeezed to save, I don’t want to see my mother till I have enough,” Ms Omole narrated.

When asked why would she be angry to the extent of avoiding meeting her son upon her return to Nigeria, she burst into tears, weeping bitterly.

‘My Experience Was Horrific’

 

In another case, Ms Blessing Muhammad, who believed that her mother did her a great favour for spurring her to embark on the journey to Europe, said every mother will be happy when her child is about to travel to greener pastures.

“My mum bought clothes and make-over stuff for me when I was travelling,” she narrated.

“A popular big sister at Akungba approached my mother and convinced that she would help me travel to Europe with the promise that I will be doing my hairdressing work or I can be doing housemaid to be able to raise money and support my mother and siblings.

“My mother has not been feeling well and she needs support; I was second to the last born in the family. My elder siblings cannot be supportive because of their economic status.

“My journey through the desert was horrific; I was to be buried, the grave had been dug and just as I was about to be thrown into the grave, I miraculously showed signs of life as I was told, I came back to life. I left Nigeria on the 3rd of January, 2016 and the cold was at its peak at the time; I died and resurrected; that was what I can say

“What I experienced in the desert was a child’s play compared to the inhuman treatment meted out to me by my burga (trafficker) who happens to be from my town and same street.

“Despite the fact that I fell ill as a result of the harsh weather in the desert, my trafficker forced me to be ‘dis-virgined’ on the day I entered Libya by fixing me up with a client.

“To God, I used my body (prostitution) to pay my trafficker a total sum of 4.5 million naira.

“The worst part of my experience was the mental instability I found myself in; this was due to various trauma I passed through in the hands of my trafficker.

“My trafficker took nine of us out of Akungba; presently I am the only one returning due to my health. Though I thank God that I am recuperating fast but I have to return to Nigeria in order not to relapse.

“Any time I shout out of anxiety or anger, the mental illness will resurface.
“I cannot ask my enemies to embark on any journey out Nigeria to seek for any non-existing job at all.

“Our people are our enemies; they deceive us to leave Nigeria,” Ms Blessing Muhammed bitterly recounted.

 

Other agencies at the reception of the returnees included the Nigerian Immigration Service, Federal Ministry of Health, NAPTIP, FAAN, and the Nigeria Police Force.

NEMA Receives 159 Nigerian Returnees From Libya

The Nigerian returnees at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Lagos on February 23, 2022.

 

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has received 159 Nigerian returnees from Libya at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, on Wednesday.

NEMA Director-General, Mustapha Habib, who was represented by the Lagos Territorial Office Coordinator, Ibrahim Farinloye, made this known via a statement issued to Channels Television.

Farinloye said the returnees were assisted back to the country and arrived at the Cargo Wing of the Lagos airport aboard Al Buraq Air with registration number 5A-DMG.

READ ALSO: 2023: PDP Wants To Rescue Nigeria From The Present Division – Bala Mohammed

Giving a breakdown of the figures, he said the Nigerians comprise 80 adult females, 67 adult males 11 children, and two infants.

The NEMA boss called on Nigerians to adopt a positive attitude towards life challenges, warning youths, who may think there is greener pastures elsewhere, against irregular migration.

“It is normal in life to struggle for better and improved livelihoods but in the struggle, we must avoid endangering our lives,” he said.

“I wish to state that there is nowhere in the world that its citizens will not have to strive in attaining good life within the limited resources available in that country.

“Nigeria is well endowed, far more than most countries that young Nigerians are travelling to in seeking greener pastures that are no longer there. What we need to do is for all of us to look inward and avail ourselves of the countless opportunities in Nigeria.

“The present government has been providing an enabling environment for us to thrive and will continue to cooperate with development partners in creating level playing grounds for all Nigerians in the country.”

See photos below:

 

Italy Arrests Egyptian After Cold Kills Seven Migrants

File photo of migrants on a boat.

 

Italian police said Saturday they had arrested an Egyptian suspected of trafficking migrants across the Mediterranean during a trip that left seven people dead from hypothermia.

The suspect is accused of organising the dangerous crossing by a boat carrying 287 people from Libya. Most were suffering from the cold when they were rescued by the coast guard on January 25.

Police in the Sicilian city of Agrigento said in a statement that the ordeal on the overcrowded, 16-metre boat ended “with the death, by hypothermia, of seven Bangladeshi citizens, due to the inhumane conditions of the voyage.”

READ ALSO: Ethiopia To Start Generating Power From Nile Dam

The 38-year-old suspect, who was identified through witness testimony of survivors, had already been sentenced for a 2011 people smuggling crime in Sicily, police said, without providing further detail.

Winter weather has not been a deterrent for migrants crossing the Mediterranean this year despite freezing temperatures and rough seas.

So far this year, some 10,570 migrants have reached Europe by sea, out of a total of 11,986, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Some 229 have died or gone missing in the attempt to reach the continent.

AFP

Libya Parliament Names Rival PM In Challenge To Unity Govt

In this file photo taken on October 6, 2021, Libya’s former interior minister Fathi Bashagha speaks during an interview with AFP in the capital Tripoli. Mahmud TURKIA / AFP

 

Libya found itself with two prime ministers Thursday after its parliament named a rival to replace the existing unity government’s chief Abdulhamid Dbeibah, threatening a new power struggle in the war-torn nation.

The House of Representatives, based in Libya’s east, “unanimously approved Fathi Bashagha to head the government,” the parliament’s spokesman Abdullah Bliheg said in a tweet.

The move threatened to deepen the struggle for control between the assembly and the Tripoli-based administration of Dbeibah, while experts warned of potential violence in the capital in western Libya.

It came hours after Libyan media carried unconfirmed reports that Dbeibah’s car was targeted by gunfire overnight, without specifying whether he was inside the vehicle at the time.

The construction tycoon, appointed a year ago as part of United Nations-led peace efforts, has vowed only to hand power to a government that emerges from a democratic vote.

His administration had a mandate to lead the country to elections last December 24, but the polls were cancelled amid bitter divisions over their legal basis and the candidacies of several controversial figures.

READ ALSO: Mali Stands Firm Against Economic Sanctions

Parliament speaker Aguila Saleh, who like Dbeibah and Bashagha had been a presidential candidate, has since spearheaded efforts to replace the unity government.

The assembly had considered seven candidates to lead the administration. But shortly before Thursday’s confirmation vote, Saleh had announced that Bashagha’s only remaining challenger, former interior ministry official Khaled al-Bibass, had withdrawn from the race.

The live television feed cut just before the vote took place.

‘Groundhog Day’ 

Experts warned that Thursday’s vote threatens a repeat of a 2014 schism which saw two parallel governments emerge.

“Libya has two prime ministers. Again. Groundhog Day,” Anas El Gomati of Libyan think tank the Sadeq Institute wrote in a tweet.

In a televised address on Tuesday, Dbeibah had vowed he would “accept no new transitional phase or parallel authority” and declared he would only hand over power to an elected government.

Bashagha and Dbeibah, both from the powerful port city of Misrata, have the support of rival armed groups in the Libyan capital and the surroundings.

“Dbeibah is refusing to step down, so there is potential for some kind of conflict in Tripoli and beyond, and it could get ugly really fast,” Amanda Kadlec, a former member of the UN Panel of Experts on Libya, told AFP.

“Bashagha and Dbeibah both have deep connections across western Libya, and the militias will move with whomever they see as having power.

“The Tripoli militias might also take a wait-and-see approach,” she added. “Alliance-hopping is part of the playbook in Libya.”

The UN, western powers and even some members of parliament have called for Dbeibah to stay in his role until elections, for which a new date has not yet been set.

Peter Millett, a former UK ambassador to Libya, said the main division now was “between the Libyan people — who want elections — and the political elite, who don’t.”

“The motivation of many MPs is to hang on to jobs and privileges rather than allow for a smooth process leading to elections,” he told AFP.

“This seems like a decision taken to deprive the people of the right to vote by delaying elections even further and causing potential instability in Tripoli.”

AFP

28 Migrants Found Dead On Libyan Coast

File Photo: IOM.

 

The bodies of 28 migrants have washed up on Libya’s western coast after their boat sunk, a security official said Sunday, the latest tragedy on the world’s deadliest migration route.

“Libyan Red Crescent teams recovered 28 bodies of dead migrants and found three survivors at two different sites on the beaches of Al-Alous,” some 90 kilometres (55 miles) from Tripoli, the source said.

“The bodies’ advanced state of decomposition indicates that the shipwreck happened several days ago,” he said, adding the toll could rise in the coming hours.

Images published by Libyan media outlets showed corpses lined up along the shore then placed in body bags.

Libya, wracked by a decade of conflict and lawlessness, has become a key departure point for African and Asian migrants making desperate attempts to reach Europe.

Migrants often endure horrific conditions in Libya before embarking northwards on overcrowded, often unseaworthy vessels that frequently sink or get into trouble.

The latest tragedy comes just days after 160 migrants died within a week in similar incidents, bringing the total number of lives lost this year to 1,500, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The IOM says more than 30,000 migrants have been intercepted in the same period and returned to Libya.

The European Union has cooperated closely with the Libyan Coast Guard to cut numbers of migrants arriving on European shores.

On their return, many face further horrific abuses in detention centres.

Libya Minister Arrested Over Lack Of School Textbooks

A file photo of a classroom. Credit: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television

 

Libya’s education minister was arrested on Monday as part of an enquiry into a lack of schoolbooks, the prosecution service said.

Moussa al-Megarief “was placed in preventative detention pending an investigation into (possible) negligence”, it said in a statement.

“The Public Prosecution has launched an enquiry to determine the circumstances around contractual procedures for the printing of textbooks and the reasons for a shortfall,” it said.

A number of other officials are wanted for questioning, including the minister for planning, it added.

READ ALSO: Thousands Rally In Sudan 3 Years After People Power Revolt Started

Since the times of dictator Moamer Kadhafi, Libyan authorities have had a budget earmarked to provide free textbooks to each student at the start of the school year in September.

However many of this year’s books have yet to be delivered, forcing students to make full photocopies from just a handful of books per class.

Many pupils had still not been supplied with their books by mid-December.

“I’ve got three children in primary school and copying each book for several classes costs us hundreds of dinars,” a major expense for cash-strapped Libyans, said Zakiya Abdelsamad, a secretary at a medical clinic in Tripoli.

Several stationary and office supplies shops have profited from the situation, selling overpriced copies of the books.

Before Megarief was arrested, the education ministry had blamed the delay on the complex process of reunifying Libya’s curriculum after a key east-west schism in 2014 produced different versions.

Eastern and western camps signed a landmark ceasefire in October 2020 and have been working to align school curricula across the country.

The ministry has also posted the books on its website in PDF format.

The minister’s arrest comes just four days ahead of presidential elections meant to cap a transition phase, but widely expected to be delayed.

Gunmen Attack Court Stopping Gaddafi Son’s Appeal

A handout picture released by the Libyan High National Commission Facebook Page on November 14, 2021, shows Seif al-Islam Gaddafi (L), son of slain Libyan dictator Moamer Gaddafi, registering to run in the country’s December presidential polls, in Libya’s southern city of Sebha. (Photo by STRINGER / Libyan High National Electoral Commission FB Page / AFP)

 

Libya’s government has condemned an attack on a court ahead of an appeal by the son of slain dictator Moamer Gaddafi against the rejection of his presidential election candidacy.

The December 24 polls come as Libya seeks to turn a page on a decade of violence that has rocked the oil-rich nation since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed Gaddafi in 2011.

Libya’s electoral commission on Wednesday announced the rejection of the candidacy of Seif al-Islam Gaddafi, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes.

Seif al-Islam was among 25 of the 98 hopefuls whose bids were turned down for non-compliance with the provisions of the electoral law.

READ ALSO: Libya Elders Call For Boycott Of Presidential Poll Over Kadhafi’s Bid

The unsuccessful applicants were given 48 hours to appeal the decision in court.

But on Thursday morning a “group of outlaws” launched an “odious” attack on the court in the southern town of Sebha forcing it to shut — just hours before Seif al-Islam had been due to appeal, the government said in a statement.

It has ordered the interior and justice ministries to open an investigation into the attack, said Khaled al-Zaydi, the lawyer for Seif al-Islam.

The attackers forced all staff from the court building “at gunpoint” hours before the appeal hearing, said Khaled al-Zaydi, Seif al-Islam’s lawyer.

“This act is an obstacle to the electoral process,” he said in a video broadcast on Libyan media.

In the case of Seif al-Islam, the commission had pointed to articles of the electoral law stipulating that candidates “must not have been sentenced for a dishonourable crime” and must present a clean criminal record.

The final list of candidates is due to be published by early December, once verifications and appeals are completed.

Other hopefuls still in the running include eastern-based strongman Khalifa Haftar, interim premier Abdulhamid Dbeibah, and former interior minister Fathi Bashagha.

Both presidential and legislative polls had been slated for December 24, but in early October parliament split the dates of the votes, postponing the legislative elections until January.

The path to the ballot box has been lined with disputes over the constitutional basis for the polls and the powers to be given to whoever wins.

AFP

98 Candidates Register For Libya’s Presidential Poll

Imad al-Sayeh, the head of Libya’s High National Electoral Commission, gives a press conference in the capital Tripoli on November 23, 2021. (Photo by Mahmud Turkia / AFP)

 

Libya’s electoral commission said Tuesday that 98 candidates, including two women, had registered to run in a presidential election scheduled for December.

“The candidate registration platform has received the papers of 98 candidates who met the conditions,” the head of the electoral commission, Imad al-Sayeh, told a Tripoli press conference.

Among the most notable hopefuls are Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, the son of slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi, and Khalifa Haftar, leader of the self-styled Libyan National Army in control of the country’s east and parts of the south.

Also in the running are former interior minister Fathi Bashagha and Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah of the interim, UN-brokered Government of National Unity.

Only two women have stepped forward as candidates: Laila Ben Khalifa, 46, the president and founder of the National Movement party, and Hunayda al-Mahdi, a researcher in the social sciences.

The polls come as the UN seeks to end a decade of violence that has rocked the oil-rich nation since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed Kadhafi in 2011.

The final candidates list will be published within 12 days, once verifications and appeals are completed, said Sayeh, a day after the deadline for submitting applications.

The commission “will pass on the papers to the prosecutor general, the department of passports and nationality and to the General Intelligence” to ensure candidates comply with the electoral law.

Registration for Libya’s first-ever direct presidential poll on December 24 took place in three commission offices, in Tripoli in the west, Benghazi in the east and Sebha in the south.

More than 2.8 million of Libya’s seven million people are registered to vote.

The head of the electoral commission said that so far “more than 1.7 million voters have received their (voting) cards”.

Libya Elders Call For Boycott Of Presidential Poll Over Kadhafi’s Bid

In this file photo taken on August 23, 2011, Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, son of Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, appears in front of supporters and journalists at his father’s residential complex in the Libyan capital Tripoli. (Photo by IMED LAMLOUM / AFP)

 

Elders from several cities called for a boycott of presidential elections and protesters shut voting stations in western Libya on Monday after former dictator Moamer Kadhafi’s son registered to run.

Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, whose whereabouts have been secret for years, on Sunday became the first heavyweight candidate to sign up for the December 24 poll.

But an influential council of elders from Misrata, a city which played a key role in the 2011 uprising that toppled his father, called for an election boycott.

The council rejects “the candidacy of those who used excessive force against the Libyan people’s uprising and who are the target of arrest warrants from Libyan courts and the International Criminal Court”, it said in a statement.

It urged “free patriots” to protest against the election taking place before a constitutional basis was agreed.

A member of the electoral commission, the HNEC, told AFP that “residents protesting at the candidacy of Seif al-Islam Kadhafi in presidential elections closed down several polling stations” in the west.

The official, who asked not to be named, said there had been no violence and voting stations had not been damaged.

Libya first ever direct presidential poll comes as the United Nations seeks to end a decade of violence since a revolt that toppled his father in 2011.

Seif al-Islam is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the NATO-backed uprising.

But the HNEC said he had “completed all the required legal conditions” to run.

On Sunday, prominent figures in the western city of Zawiya “categorically rejected” presidential runs by both Kadhafi and eastern military strongman Khalifa Haftar, who is also widely expected to announce a bid.

A key part of a United Nations-led political process building on a ceasefire in October last year, the elections are opposed by some who argue there has been no agreement on their legal basis and the powers the winner would take.

Khaled al-Meshri, head of an interim High Council of State, has called for them to be delayed, saying they are “flawed” and “illegal”.

The HNEC says around 2.83 million voters have signed up to take part in the presidential and legislative polls due to start on December 24.

AFP

Libya Since Kadhafi: A Decade Of Civil War And Chaos

File photo of Moamer Kadhafi. Photo; Wikimedia

 

With international talks on Libya to be held in Paris on Friday, here is a timeline of the oil-rich country gripped by chaos since dictator Moamer Kadhafi’s ouster a decade ago.

2011: Kadhafi killed 

Encouraged by Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, protests erupt in Libya in February 2011.

The United States, France and Britain give military backing to what becomes an armed revolt in the North African country.

Kadhafi, in power for 42 years, flees the capital but rebels capture and kill him on October 20.


In August 2012, the rebels hand power to a transitional authority, the General National Congress (GNC).

2012: Foreign missions targeted 

US ambassador Chris Stevens and three American staff are killed in a September 11, 2012 attack on their consulate in Libya’s second city, Benghazi. An Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist group is blamed.

A car bomb in April 2013 targets France’s Tripoli embassy, wounding two French guards.

Most foreign diplomats leave the country.

2014-2016: Rival administrations 

Eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar launches an offensive in May 2014 against jihadist groups in Benghazi. He names his forces the Libyan National Army, and several senior officers from the east join him.

Legislative polls are held in June, producing a lower house of parliament — the House of Representatives — dominated by anti-Islamists.

But Islamist-led militias contest the results and storm Tripoli in August, restoring the GNC to power.

The internationally recognised House of Representatives takes refuge in the eastern city of Tobruk. A rival body equivalent of Libya’s senate and formally known as the High Council of State is established in Tripoli in the west.

Libya thus finds itself with two administrations and two parliaments.

In December 2015, after months of talks and international pressure, the rival parliaments sign an accord in Morocco establishing a Government of National Accord.

In March 2016, its chief Fayez al-Sarraj arrives in Tripoli to install the new administration, but Haftar refuses to recognise it.

2019: Haftar’s offensives 

Haftar announces the “total liberation” of Benghazi from jihadists in July 2017, after more than three years of fighting.

He is backed by neighbouring Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, later also forming links with Russia.

In January 2019, Haftar launches an offensive into oil-rich southern Libya, seizing the region’s capital, Sebha, and one of the country’s main oil fields.

In April, he orders his troops to advance on Tripoli.

In June 2020, Tripoli’s forces say they have overrun Haftar’s last western stronghold.

2020-2021: Talks and Tensions 

The rival administrations sign a “permanent” ceasefire agreement in October after UN-hosted talks in Geneva. The following month in Tunis they agree to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in December 2021.

Libyan delegates to the UN process approve a unity government headed by interim prime minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah in March 2021, charging it with leading the country to the elections.

But the United Nations warns in July of a “stalemate” over political and security plans and Dbeibah’s proposed budget.

In October, the eastern-based parliament adopts a law governing the legislative elections, following the ratification of a text governing the presidential poll that critics say favours Haftar.

Libya’s senate in Tripoli contests both laws.

Election Wrangling 

The parliament in Tobruk rubber stamps the presidential poll for December 24 but postpones the legislative elections to January.

On November 6, with the Paris international conference on the horizon to make sure the elections go ahead, the presidential council suspends Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush for “administrative breeches”.

Two days later, registration for election candidates begins.

AFP

PHOTOS: 162 Stranded Nigerians Return From Libya

A photo taken on November 3, 2021, captures the arrival of the stranded Nigerians brought back from Libya.

 

A total of 162 Nigerians stranded in Libya have been brought back to the country.

The returnees arrived at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) in Lagos on Wednesday morning.

A breakdown of the figure of the returnees shows that 98 of them are adult females, 28 are adult males, 19 are female children, five are male children, nine are female infants and the remaining three persons are male infants.

Five of the returnees have various degrees of health-related issues.

Their plane was said to have taken off from Tripoli, Libya at about 22:10pm on Tuesday and landed at the MMIA at about 2:10am on Wednesday.

They were received by officials of the Port Health Unit of the Federal Ministry of Health, National Commission for Resilience, Migration, and IDPs; Nigerian Immigration Services, and National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The returnees were brought back to the country by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) through the voluntary repatriation programme.

This programme is for people who left Nigeria to seek greener pasture in European countries but cannot afford to return when their journey becomes frustrated.

Since 2017, the IOM has assisted over 22,000 distressed Nigerians back to the country, according to authorities.

The arrival of the returnees is captured in the photos below:

UN Warns Libya Must Not Split Presidential And Parliamentary Polls

In this file photo taken on September 23, 2019 the United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall. Ludovic MARIN / AFP

 

The UN mission in Libya has urged leaders to stick to the December 24 timeline for presidential and legislative polls it hopes will help stabilise the war-battered nation.

Libya has been struggling to move past the violence that has wracked the oil-rich nation since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi, with political wrangling over the date of the polls the latest stumbling block.

A ceasefire between eastern and western factions last year led to a fragile unity government taking office in March, with a mandate to take the country to elections.

Part of an agreed roadmap was to hold elections on the same day.

Foreign powers have been pushing hard for elections to be held as scheduled after the date was agreed at UN-led talks last year.

The UN Support Mission in Libya, or UNSMIL, believes that a double vote would boost the “credibility” of the polls and “the acceptance of the results of the elections”.

“Respecting the principle of simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections on 24 December 2021 is needed to preserve the integrity of the electoral process,” UNSMIL said in a statement late Saturday.

But there are deep disagreements between the government in the capital Tripoli in the west, led by Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, and parliament in the eastern city of Tobruk, led by Aguila Saleh.

In September, Saleh signed off on legislation for the December presidential election, which critics said bypassed due process and favoured a run by his ally, the eastern military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

It sparked an angry reaction from Tripoli.

Haftar is widely expected to stand as a presidential candidate, but is despised by many in Libya’s west.

Then in early October, parliament split the dates of the vote by postponing legislative elections until January.

Just over two weeks later, Dbeibah promised the vote would be held “on time”.