Chinese drones bound for Libya intercepted by Italian customs

Chinese drones bound for Libya intercepted by Italian customs

Italian customs intercepted two Chinese-made military drones heading for Libya on July 2nd, reported Middle East Monitor and agencies. The news comes despite Libya’s ongoing international arms embargo.

The Italian customs agency reported on July 3rd that the two drones were discovered disassembled across six containers in the port of Gioia Tauro, located in the southern region of Calabria. The parts were hidden among replicas of wind turbine blades to avoid detection. The shipped parts make up China’s Wing Loong II drone which had previously been exported to the UAE, according to Newsweek.

READ: Hafed Al-Ghwell: Libya is a boiling cauldron of drugs, arms and trafficking

The announcement confirms reports by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera of a similar interception at the same port on June 18th. American intelligence tipped off Italian authorities of materials found in a container ship that had arrived from the Chinese port of Yantian.

The drone parts were set to be delivered in Libya’s eastern port of Benghazi, which warlord Khalifa Haftar currently controls. The discovery has caused speculation that Beijing supplies arms to the interim government controlling Libya. Russia, the United Arab Emirates and other states have also been suspected of sending weapons and military equipment to the eastern administration.

In 2011, an open-ended embargo on the supply of arms and military equipment was imposed on Libya in response to the use of violence and armed force against civilians, resulting in systematic violations of human rights. Therefore, Italian authorities were able to seize the drones found on the vessel. The effectiveness of sanctions placed on Libya has been questioned as some organisations have seen the embargo as “totally ineffective”.

Middle East Monitor and agencies.


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