Libya on Thursday asked Italy to arm the patrol boats it uses in the fight against illegal immigration across the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe.
Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti this week handed over to the Libyan coastguard four patrol boats repaired in Italy as part of a cooperation deal against people traffickers.
Another six patrol boats are to follow soon after the training of their Libyan crews, he said.
“These boats are not fitted with arms. We can’t used them for patrols when the traffickers are increasingly armed,” Abdullah Tomia, a senior naval officer in charge of cooperation with Italy, told a news conference in Tripoli.
“We’ve asked Italy to arm the patrol boats,” he said.