News / Africa

Foreigners Flee Libya Violence, Pour Into Egypt

Egyptians return home from the Sallum border crossing with Libya on February 24, 2011
Egyptians return home from the Sallum border crossing with Libya on February 24, 2011

Thousands of foreigners caught in the violence in Libya are struggling to leave.  Some are able to board aircraft, ferries and other ships chartered by their governments, while others are pouring across the borders of neighboring Egypt.   Many have been helped to safety by Libyans under siege themselves.

Streams of people pour through the dusty desert crossing into Egypt, leaving behind the lives they built in an oil-rich country once offering some measure of hope, however small, of wealth.   

They fled in fear, taking whatever they could:  some a few, simple belongings, bedrolls, a few clothes, the little savings they had at home.  Others have nothing and are only thankful they escaped with their lives.     

Egyptian Wael Mohammad worked as a baker in eastern Libya.  Although the region simmered with resentment against the government in Tripoli, he says he was not afraid when the uprising began.

Mohammad says he thought it would last a day or two.  But then the government counterattacks began.  He says there were machine gun and mortar attacks.  And, mercenaries.   His eyes scanning back across the Libyan plateau, he adds, it was horrifying.

He explains how his coworkers, in a courtyard next door, were stormed by foreign fighters.  He says they had knives, daggers and metal bars and had come to slaughter.   He says it was then he and his friends could no longer stay.

Related slide show by Elizabeth Arrott

 

But, even as thousands of people like Mohammad form a wave flowing out from Libya, another surge is headed in.

The Red Crescent and other humanitarian groups are sending truckloads of supplies and have set up camps for the displaced.

Informal networks have also sprung up, with Libyans from abroad returning home, ferrying in money, medicine, whatever they can to help their countrymen.  

Sayeed Awad is with the Union of Arab Doctors.  He stands on the Egyptian side of the border, pleading the case for those on the other side.

Awad says medicine is in short supply.  He says there is no milk for babies and no anesthesia.  

Yet for all the accounts of the troubles people have endured, the tales of those leaving is one of generosity by the Libyans they left behind.  Simni Admini Mohammad is a shepherd from nearby Saloum.   He was on the wrong side of the border when the violence broke out.

The elderly man sits on the back of a flatbed truck, recalling the help he was given by Libyans along the way back.  He says they stood by their side.   He says the refugees were given aid and support and that they refused money for their aid.

Tears well in the shepherd's eyes. "They gave us everything... God is a witness to what I am saying."  

Around him stand those who, too, have fled  They chant "God is great "and appeal to God to "free Libya."

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid