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On Wednesday 30 March, German Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Andrea Sasse announced that “the German government cannot currently justify the training of Libyan coastguards by German soldiers in view of the repeated unacceptable behaviour of individual coastguards towards refugees and migrants, and also towards non-governmental organisations.”

The training provided by the European Union and its member states to the Libyan coast guard has always been subject to severe international criticism because of the regular abuse of migrants and refugees intercepted at sea by Libyan forces.

Andrea Sasse stated that, according to information available to the German government, “in at least two cases the coast guard acted in a completely unacceptable and illegal manner.” In July 2021, the Libyan coastguard, filmed by the Sea-Watch organisation from its Seabird surveillance plane, had used its weapons to counter a boat of migrants off Lampedusa.

In 2021, the Libyan coastguard intercepted more than 32,000 migrants at sea, almost three times the number in 2020.