Italian bilateral assistance and support mission in Libya: General Fraterrigo is replaced by the peer Missaglia

(To covid)

Army Corps General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, operational commander of the Joint Forces Summit (COVI), yesterday concluded a two-day visit to Libya, where he presided over the turnover ceremony in command of the Italian bilateral assistance and support mission, the so-called MIASIT.

The ceremony marked the formal handover between brigadier general Michele Fraterrigo (Italian Army) - leading the contingent since September 2022 - and peer Dario Antonio Missaglia (Air Force).
Present at today's event were the Italian ambassador to Tripoli, Gianluca Alberini, the military attaché for Defence, captain Francesco Marino, diplomatic representatives and various civil and military authorities.

General Figliuolo brought the greetings of Defense Minister Crosetto and the Chief of Defense Staff Admiral Cavo Dragone to the Italian military. He then thanked them for the professionalism and dedication put in place in the complex Libyan scenario, underlining the increasingly central role that MIASIT and the Armed Forces are assuming within the framework of the broader Italian presence in the African country and in the Wider Mediterranean, a quadrant of importance strategic for Italy.

The visit of the COVI commander to Libya takes place a few days after the flood that hit the Derna area, in the Cyrenaica region, where at the moment the efforts of the Italian Armed Forces, the Civil Protection, the Fire Brigade are also concentrated Fire and the Red Cross to provide support to the Libyan authorities, to provide first aid and help the population meet their primary needs.

“With the Libyan people”, General Figliuolo highlighted during his speech, “we have always had relationships of exchange, closeness and friendship, so our commitment here must continue without hesitation and with all the tools we have at our disposal, at the level of the country system, therefore with the presence of our Armed Forces on the ground and in synergy with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation".

With the visit to Tripoli and Misurata, General Figliuolo, accompanied by a COVI delegation, met the soldiers of the Italian contingent and various military personalities of the African country. Together with Ambassador Alberini, he reached the town of Abu Sittah for a meeting with the Chief of Defense Staff, General Mohammed el-Haddad, to whom General Figliuolo expressed his closeness for the difficult moment that the people Libyan is crossing. Among the topics discussed, the multi-year cooperation between Italy and Libya in relation to the training and training activities of the security forces and local special forces.

Yesterday morning, at the end of the military ceremony in Tripoli, the COVI delegation reached the new compound that hosts the Italian soldiers of MIASIT in the city of Misurata. The visit continued to the adjacent Air Force Academy for a meeting with the commander of the Institute, Major General Raajb Egsabaat.

The meeting with General el-Haddad

“Thank you for everything Italy has done and is doing for us. We are happy to welcome you, because in this moment of difficulty for our people we have understood who our true friends are". With these words, General Mohammed el-Haddad, Chief of the Defense Staff, received General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo at the headquarters of the Defense Staff in Tripoli.

The words of the high Libyan official refer to the help offered by Italy after the event that recently hit the Derna area, in the eastern part of the country, but also to the cooperation with Libya in the sector of training and training for the security forces and special forces of the African country.
Precisely on this aspect, in light of what happened in Cyrenaica, Haddad proposed to General Figliuolo that a collaboration with the Italian Armed Forces be able to start as soon as possible to train the Libyan soldiers to operate in favor of the populations affected by calamities such as the one underway . The Libyan Security Forces – commented Haddad – intervened promptly in Derna but since Libya is not a territory usually subject to natural disasters of a flood or seismic nature, the forces that intervened do not have specific skills in the field of disaster relief. Hence, the request for collaboration with the Italian Defense, which instead has a command and control organization that reports to the top joint operational command (COVI) and which makes use of Armed Forces that have acquired specific capabilities over time , cutting-edge vehicles and equipment that allow the Italian military to support the population during emergencies.

The Italian ambassador in Tripoli, Gianluca Alberini and the commander of COVI wanted to underline that Italy is moving in Libya with the desire to promote reunification and pacification between the east and the west, a precondition for achieving that stability and prosperity that the country and its population deserve. This is a choral effort, also conducted with the military component.

The meeting ended with official greetings from General Michele Fraterrigo, who leaves the leadership of MIASIT to his peer Dario Antonio Missaglia. “We have achieved all the objectives that General Figliuolo had assigned to us twelve months ago”, said Fraterrigo, thanking General Haddad's staff for their willingness to start new collaborations. In recent months, i Mobile Training Team Italians trained the soldiers from Tripoli and Misurata who left for Derna to provide aid to the population, but also the personnel of the Libyan military police, the soldiers of the "166 security battalion", trained in the techniques of the military combat method, the Libyan Special Forces , a part of which has already reached the "Gamerra" barracks in Pisa to start the parachuting course.

Added to the Italian military commitment in the field of training is the approximately 800 thousand euros of materials and equipment that Italy has donated to Libya with funds from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The Italian presence in Libya

The Italian military contingent was deployed for the first time in 2016 in Misurata, with the "Hippocrates" Task Force and a military field hospital, during the most critical phase of the war in Libya against Daesh, to provide healthcare to the population and to the Libyan soldiers involved in the conflict.

Today it is made up of around one hundred soldiers from the four Armed Forces, including staff and trainers of the so-called Mobile Training Teams (MTT).

In the period of activity from 2016 to 2021, the Italian staff of the Misurata field hospital performed more than 1.000 surgeries, as many hospitalizations and over 40.000 outpatient services. Among them it is worth mentioning the multiple pediatric interventions and the prosthetic support for the numerous Libyan amputees. Furthermore, more than 100 medical, nursing and physiotherapy training courses were organized and completed for the healthcare facilities present in Misurata. Last but not least, we must remember the numerous donations of medicines and healthcare materials to hospitals located throughout the country.

Also thanks to the contribution provided by Italy, the Misurata healthcare system has achieved standards of efficiency and organization such that it can independently continue its activities for the benefit of the local population.

The Italian Armed Forces will continue to be present in Libya and, in the wake of the friendship and cooperation that have always characterized MIASIT over the years, they will undertake to increase the capabilities of local institutions, in harmony with the lines of intervention decided by the United Nations , through technical and humanitarian support, security force assistance and stability policing, facilitating education and training activities both in Italy and Libya.