Tunisia to repatriate extremists’ children from Libya

A picture taken on August 2, 2017 shows children of ISIS fighters currently living in the Libyan Red Crescent headquarters in Misrata. (File photo: AFP)

A Tunisian delegation travelled on Thursday to Libya’s third city Misrata to repatriate children of extremists killed in 2016 in the North African country, the Libyan Red Crescent said.

Six Tunisian children, aged three to 12 years old, along with a dozen others of different nationalities, had for three years been cared for by the charity in Misrata, east of the capital Tripoli.

They are the children of extremists who were killed in 2016 in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte, a former stronghold of ISIS.

The Red Crescent said they are expected to be repatriated on Thursday.

A year ago, Tunisian forensic police took DNA samples from the children to confirm their nationality before evacuating them out of Libya.

The pace of the procedure was criticized by NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, which accused Tunisian officials of “dragging their feet” on efforts to repatriate children of ISIS members.

In recent years, Tunisia has been one of the key sources of fighters who headed to conflicts around the world to join ranks with extremist groups.

In 2015, the United Nations said that some 5,000 Tunisians had flocked mainly to Syria and Libya to join ISIS, while authorities in Tunis gave a lower figure of 3,000.

Many Tunisian fighters who went to Libya joined ISIS in Sirte, which was seized in December 2016 by forces allied to the Tripoli-based UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) after months of heavy fighting.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:53 - GMT 06:53
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