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Nigerians Moving to Evacuate Nationals from Libya


Nigeria's Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia (file photo)

Nigeria's Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia (file photo)

Nigeria's government says it is moving to evacuate its citizens from Libya. Nigeria's government is deploring what it calls a disproportionate use of force by Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Nigerian Foreign Minister Odein Ajumogobia says President Goodluck Jonathan is moving to evacuate Nigerians from Libya because the government is committed to taking whatever measures are necessary to ensure the safety and security of its citizens abroad.

“Mr. President has directed that stranded passengers in Tripoli and Benghazi, Nigerians, should be evacuated," said Ajumogobia. "And steps are being taken to affect their evacuation as we did from Cairo.”

Ajumogobia says he is in regular contact with diplomats across North Africa and is closely following events in Algeria, Egypt, and Libya.

Libyan leader Gadhafi has called on supporters to fight back against opposition protestors whom he described as "gangs" and "terrorists." He threatened death for anyone who takes up arms against Libya or engages in espionage.

Ajumogobia says Nigeria deplores the use of violence against peaceful protestors and is calling on the Libyan government to resolve the crisis peacefully.

"We've deplored the unrestrained and disproportionate use of force to disperse protesters. We believe that the crisis can and should be resolved through a meeting of all political stakeholders. We believe that the will of the people should be the guide. And I think that is what we are seeing in North Africa.”

Ajumogobia says the government had already advised envoys to evacuate their families so members of the diplomatic corps who remain can concentrate fully on the job at hand.
In moving to evacuate what are thought to be several hundred civilians in Libya, Nigeria joins a long list of countries trying to get its citizens out.

Chinese state media say Beijing is organizing an air, sea and land operation to evacuate up to 33,000 citizens. Bangladesh is asking for international assistance to repatriate up to 60,000 civilians.

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