Updated | EU nationals among passengers landing in Malta from Libya

Private jet belonging to Libyan government carrying six crew members and no passengers lands in Malta for repairs

File photo
File photo

The government is coordinating more commercial flights from Libya to Malta and the first group of arrivals on Sunday included six Maltese. MaltaToday is informed that a plane leaving the military airport of Mitiga on the outskirts of Tripoli carried 19 passengers, six of whom were Maltese.

A second aircraft was scheduled to land in Malta, to change its crew.

A government spokesperson also said that a private jet of the Libyan government landed for repairs with no passengers aboard. The plane carried six crew members.

A Petroair aircraft from Misurata landed with 37 passengers, 26 of which are EU nationals.

MaltaToday is still awaiting information on a Medavia flight from Mitiga with six passengers aboard.

Meanwhile, a commercial flight arriving from Mitiga airport in Libya last night was carrying only one Maltese national from the 155 passengers on board, a spokesperson for the foreign affairs ministry told MaltaToday.

The Maltese government has advised Maltese nationals in Libya to find commercial flights out of the North African country as turmoil from inter-militia fighting threatens to engulf the nation.

Sources also said that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs is contacting some 117 Maltese nationals in Libya to see whether they want to return to Malta.

Moreover, the ministry is coordinating a commercial flight from Mitiga airport to Malta, but it is understood that this is not an evacuation and the passengers pay for their flight.

Two injured Libyans, believed to be suffering from gunshot wounds, and a relative were brought to Malta yesterday for medical treatment.

On Friday, Foreign affairs minister George Vella said that 67 out of the 130 Maltese citizens in Libya had flown on a number of flights chartered by government.

Explaining that an evacuation “isn’t on the cards”, Vella said that there was an understanding between EU countries over a joint operation to evacuate foreigners from Libya, adding that any possible evacuation did not depend on Malta alone.

The government has also set up a crisis unit, while it is in the process of creating reception centres, including a centre at Ta’ Kandja, which could possibly host evacuees on a temporary basis.

On Saturday, the government advised Maltese nationals in Libya to find commercial flights out of Libya.

"In the light of the escalating situation in Libya, the government is renewing its travel advisory against flying to Libya, and urging those Maltese still in Libya to leave the country."

The government said it had been in contact with all Maltese nationals in Libya and that it had organised commercial flights out of the country.

"These initiatives will continue. The foreign ministry is in constant contact with Maltese nationals in Libya. Those who are still there are doing so out of their own choice."

On Friday, foreign affairs minister George Vella pointed out that fighters from Iraq and Syria had infiltrated Islamist militias in the east of the country and in parliament called on Libyans to reject fundamentalism before it was too late.

The intense rivalry between the Zintani and Misrata forces, the two major militias who are battling it out in Tripoli, also exposes religious and political divides which go beyond Libyan borders.

Meanwhile, the government has said that Martin Galea – the abducted Maltese man Libya – is thought to be alive, but this information could not be independently verified.

Retired AFM captain was abducted by Libyan rebel militias last week and the only information available is that the Maltese government is in continuous contact with Libya to ensure his safe return.