Libya is seeking to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, Sheikh Masoud Omar, an elder and representative of Libyan tribes told Daily News Egypt Saturday.
Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a “terrorist organisation” approximately five months after the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Libyan tribal representatives came to Egypt from 25-28 May to address the main challenges persisting in Libya. The tribes mainly called for more Egyptian support for Libyans, the internationally recognised Tobruk government, and for the Libyan army.
Since the toppling of former president Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been suffering from political division, as well as the spread of rebels and Islamist militias.
Omar said that tribes “absolutely reject” the presence of Islamists militants on Libyan territories, whether they belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or “Islamic State”.
He added that the tribes agreed with the Egyptian government regarding the facilitation of the flow of Libyans and Egyptians into both countries.
The flow in and out of Egypt’s western border has been restricted for months, particularly for Egyptians going to Libya. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has reiterated warnings against travelling to Libyan territories, alongside the aggravation of the political situation.
Omar also told Daily News Egypt that there are attempts to lift the restrictions on Egyptians travelling to Libyan cities not under Islamist control, although there are some areas, including Sirte, Benghazi, Derna and the capital Tripoli that are absolutely out of the government’s control. “We can’t ensure the security of Egyptians in these areas,” he said, adding, “We want relations between both countries to remain as they were.”
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry has been trying to evacuate Egyptians from Libyan territories, as they have been targeted by Islamists in some cities. The most prominent incident was the decapitation of 20 Coptic Egyptians in mid-February by “Islamic State” affiliates in the city of Sirte. Other cases of Egyptians killed by Islamists were reported in Benghazi and Tripoli.
Following the decapitations of the Egyptians, Egypt responded by launching airstrikes on the city of Derna, an Islamist stronghold.
So far, the number of Egyptians who have returned since mid-February exceeded 45,000. Several cases were reported, however, of Egyptians trying to illegally immigrate to Libya, either in search for work or in attempts to reach the European continent, where the western border city of Salloum port received 238 on Friday, 93 of whom are illegal immigrants.