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Tunisia to repatriate militants’ children from Libya: Red Crescent

AFP
Tripoli
A Tunisian delegation travelled on Thursday to Libya’s third city Misrata to repatriate children of jihadists 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 jihadists who were killed in 2016 in the coastal Libyan city of Sirte, a former stronghold the Islamic State group.
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 criticised by NGOs, including Human Rights Watch, which accused Tunisian officials of “dragging their feet” on efforts to repatriate children of Islamic State 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 jihadist groups.
In 2015, the United Nations said that some 5,000 Tunisians had flocked mainly to Syria and Libya to join the Islamic State, while authorities in Tunis gave a lower figure of 3,000.
Many Tunisian fighters who went to Libya joined Islamic State in Sirte, which was seized in December 2016 by forces allied to the Tripoli-based United Nation-recognised Government of National Accord after months of heavy fighting.