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

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    Party's presumptive presidential nominee, her vice presidential pick deliver optimistic message in Florida as they campaign for first time together

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora