Seven employees of the Canadian security company GardaWorld have been arrested at Mitiga airport by the state recognised Rada militia on 11 April, Canadian La Presse confirmed Thursday. Rada control security at Tripoli’s only working airport, Mitiga.
GardaWorld is one of the largest security companies in the world. It has formed a consortium with the French company Amarante International in Libya. Their partnership provides security for the European Union Border Assistance Mission in Libya (EUBAM).
Vice-president Isabelle Panelli, in the office of CEO Stéphan Crétier, wrote in an email to La Presse “Our priority remains the safety and well-being of our team and we are working with the Libyan authorities to secure their release,”.
“Seven members of the team, three expatriate service providers and four local nationals, were arrested on April 11, 2023 due to an administrative imbroglio, while they were carrying out a routine task”, explained Isabelle Panelli.
“For reasons of safety of our staff in the region, we will not issue any additional comment on this situation,” she discovered.
The seven employees – four Libyan drivers and three armed guards of Irish, Romanian and Croatian origin – are reported by the Canadian publication to be in the hands of the Rada.
GardaWorld did not specify what “administrative imbroglio” contributed to the arrest of its personnel in Tripoli.
According to an article by Africa Intelligence, quoted by La Presse, Rada militiamen arrested its employees because they did not have a license to carry weapons from Libya. It claims that the Montreal company only had a “license issued directly by EUBAM”, the European mission which awarded them the contract.
It reports that GuardaWorld is increasing its contracts in Libya, notably with the British Embassy in Tripoli and the Italian oil giant ENI.
There are media reports that the Libyan domestic intelligence services have opened an investigation and that GardaWorld’s contracts would be threatened.