The Libyan coast guard threatened to blow up an aircraft belonging to the German NGO SeaWatch which assist in illegal immigration.

“Get away from Libyan territory, otherwise we will shoot you by SAM missiles.”


The Libyan coastguard threatened to shoot down an NGO aircraft with surface-to-air missiles yesterday in what was reported to be in Malta’s search and rescue zone according to the NGO SeaWatch. Libyan authorities claim it to be within Libyan territories.

NGO’s SeaWatch spotted a dinghy carrying roughly 70 illegal immigrants with their aircraft Seabird. Shortly after, the Libyan Coast Guard reached the dinghy.

Upon arrival, the Libyan patrol boat threatened the aircrew. They told the crew of Seabird to:

“Get away from Libyan territory, otherwise we will shoot you by SAM missiles.”

SAM missiles (surface-to-air missiles) also known as ground-to-air missiles (GTAM) or surface-to-air guided weapons (SAGW), is a missile designed to be launched from the ground to destroy aircraft or other missiles.

NGOs SeaWatch claims that they were threatened to prevent any documentation of pushbacks (an effective deterrent).

The intercepted dinghy which some reports are suggesting was within EU waters and the boat carrying illegal immigrants was set on fire by gunfire.

Pushbacks within the Mediterranean are a common occurrence and have become a matter of political debate within European nations.

The EU & Italy have spent millions of euros supplying and training the Libyan Coast Guards in dealing with illegal immigration.

Whilst many European nations ban pushbacks, the EU and Italy both directly finance the pushbacks of illegal immigrants to Libya and their return to either detention or their homeland.

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