News / Africa

Evacuation Difficult for Sub-Saharan Migrants in Libyan Town

African migrant workers are seen at a farm where they had been hiding from rebel forces in Tripoli, Libya, August 28, 2011.
African migrant workers are seen at a farm where they had been hiding from rebel forces in Tripoli, Libya, August 28, 2011.
Joe DeCapua

More than 1,200 sub-Saharan African migrants are seeking refuge in the southwestern Libyan town of Sebha. Warring parties are being called on to ensure no harm comes to them.

The International Organization for Migration says the migrants are at an IOM transit center. Most are Chadians, but there are others from Niger and Nigeria. Sebha is currently held by supporters of Moammar Gadhafi, but is surrounded by those fighting on behalf of the National Transitional Council (NTC).

“[They] are obviously very concerned about their security and want to be evacuated as soon as possible,” said IOM spokesman Jean-Philippe Chauzy.

In July the IOM airlifted nearly 1,400 Chadian and other migrants from Sebha. Many were women, children and elderly who had fled fighting in other parts of the country.

“We call upon the warring parties to ensure adequate protection. And then of course we’d like to be able to provide some assistance, particularly evacuation assistance, for those migrants,” said Chauzy.

Dire situation

Sebha is reported to have no electricity or fuel and little food and water.

“The situation in the town is dire,” he said, “The town is besieged. So yes, there are major problems in terms of sufficient food and water provisions, medical assistance.”

The IOM had lost contact with the town for several weeks and said it appeared communications had been intentionally cut.

“That being said, we have now confirmation from the Chadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, also from our sources inside Sebha, that those migrants are now in dire straits and are desperate to be evacuated,” he said.

Surrounded

Pro-NTC forces could attack the town soon.

“We simply don’t know. The likelihood of an assault on Sebha is always there and if that happens then obviously I suspect very strongly that the airport would be a strategic objective,” he said.

An assault on the airport would prevent evacuating the migrants by plane.

“So we have to look at other options, including an evacuation by road. But we have to be realistic. We need to get firm guarantees from the warring parties that we will be able, not just to access those people, but evacuate them safely by road. And that’s quite a challenge we’re working on at the moment,” said Chauzy.

The IOM is sending a high-level delegation to both Tripoli and Benghazi to discuss the migrant situation.

You May Like

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid