News / Middle East

Despite Violence, Philippine Workers Stay in Libya

Tripoli, Libya mapTripoli, Libya map
x
Tripoli, Libya map
Tripoli, Libya map
VOA News

Most Philippine workers in Libya are staying in the war-torn country, despite Manila ordering them to leave. The workers say they are afraid of losing their jobs.

The Philippine foreign secretary says of an estimated 13,000 Philippine citizens in Libya, only 1,700 are signed up to be evacuated.

Manila has chartered a ship to take Philippine citizens this week from Libya to Malta, where Manila will arrange flights home for them.

Philippine nurses in particular are staying because many are receiving extra pay from their employers to keep working as the violence escalates.

Libya reports 22 people were killed in a day of fighting in Tripoli between rival militias vying to take control of the capital's international airport.

The interim government announced the death toll Sunday from the fighting the day before between Islamist militias from the coastal city of Misrata and the mountain town of Zintan, combatants who once fought side by side to oust longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.

The government said the "heavily armed groups" had shelled "civilian targets," the latest chapter in fighting that has claimed more than 200 lives in recent weeks.

The militia shelling set fire to eight huge oil depots, sending plumes of black smoke billowing into the air over Tripoli.

Libya is facing some of its worst violence since Gadhafi was toppled. It has renewed fears that Libya is plunging deeper into civil strife and forced several countries to evacuate their diplomats and close their embassies.

Saturday's fighting at the airport came as Libya's newly-elected parliament held its first meeting in the eastern city of Tobruk.

More than 150 members of parliament gathered under tight security for the meeting, which was headed by interim speaker Abu Bakr Baiera.

Baiera said parliament's official opening session was postponed until Monday, as the difficult security situation prevented some lawmakers from attending Saturday's gathering.

Reports indicate the lawmakers who did not show included Islamists -- a possible sign of continuing political divisions.

Britain's ambassador to Libya, Michael Aron, tweeted Friday that his embassy was suspending operations and temporarily moving its offices to Tunisia.  The United States, United Nations and Turkey had already removed their staff from Libya.  Other countries have recommended that their nationals in Libya leave immediately.

In neighboring Egypt, President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi raised concerns about Libya's deteriorating security situation and called on the international community to help restore order.

He told a news conference Saturday that as violence intensifies, the international community and especially Europe have moral, humanitarian and security responsibilities to act.  He added that there should be an international strategy to confront the spread of terrorism in the region.

Sissi noted that Egypt is facing a growing threat from its border with Libya, due to the “absence of security forces on the Libyan side.”

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs