Human rights | Society
Evacuation of scared Africans from Libya starts
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) today in a statement forwarded to afrol News reports that its vessel has arrived the "liberated" city of Benghazi, aiming at evacuating "particularly vulnerable migrants, mostly women, children and those in need of medical assistance."
Large groups of sub-Saharan Africans and other migrants were stranded in the Libyan cities of Sirte, Tripoli, Wazem and Misrata, as well as elsewhere, the IOM team was told. "Many are without documents and passports, which had been taken by their employers," they added.
With an escort from the Libyan Red Crescent, the IOM now will start evacuating small groups of migrants by road to the Egyptian border at Salum, where on average about 3,000 people are arriving from inside Libya until sea evacuations are organised to Alexandria in Egypt.
Especially Africans and Asians living and working in Libya have so far been abandoned by their employers and overlooked by most evacuation efforts. Few African and Asian countries - with the exception of China and South Africa - have been able to afford a rescue operation for their nationals stranded in Libya.
Africans so far, despite increased reports of systematic attacks from interim authorities and civilian Libyans, have been left to find their way out of Libya on their own. Many have poured into Niger, crossing the Sahara desert. Niger has ordered its Tripoli embassy to issue travel documents free of charge. Chad is preparing reception centres for returning migrants.
But the majority of Africans living in Libya - set at many hundreds of thousands - are reported to have gone into hiding, fearing attacks from Libyans believing they are "mercenaries". Many report of lack of food and other supplies as they do not dare to leave their shelter.
By staff writer
© afrol News
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