News / Africa

Tripoli Blasts Signal Apparent NATO Airstrikes

In this photo taken on a government organized tour, ruins of an official building are seen following an air strike in Tripoli, Libya, early Tuesday, May 10, 2011.
In this photo taken on a government organized tour, ruins of an official building are seen following an air strike in Tripoli, Libya, early Tuesday, May 10, 2011.

At least five loud blasts from apparent NATO airstrikes were heard in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, early Tuesday.

The unusually heavy bombardment followed separate NATO air attacks Monday against government weapons depots near the western town of Zintan.

In the besieged port city of Misrata, rebel fighters said they have pushed back government troops from positions ringing the town. A ship chartered by the International Committee of the Red Cross arrived in Misrata Monday, bringing 8,000 jars of baby food as well as urgently needed surgical instruments and medical dressings.

Earlier, the United Nations said a ship carrying 600 refugees from Libya sank off the country's coast Friday, with an unknown death toll.

Salah Kurdi, a legal adviser with the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva, told VOA the boat was heading to Italy from the Libyan capital when it hit rocks and capsized.  He said the Italian coast guard rescued many passengers, but that he had no details about casualties.

Kurdi also disclosed an earlier incident in which a smaller boat fleeing Libya ran into trouble soon after leaving Tripoli. The vessel floated helplessly on the open sea for 16 days and by the time it drifted ashore - back in Libya - most of the 72 people on board were dead or dying of hunger and thirst.

Those who survived the ill-fated voyage - all African nationals who had migrated to or were working in Libya - said NATO military units saw their plight but failed to provide any help. NATO denied the refugees' claim, but the British newspaper The Guardian  investigated and reported that NATO units apparently ignored the Africans' pleas.

The Guardian reported that the ship carried 47 Ethiopians, seven Nigerians, seven Eritreans, six Ghanaians and five Sudanese. All but 11 were dead when the ship landed back in Libya last month, and two of those who survived the ordeal at sea died later in hospitals.  

Passengers on the ship told reporters they drifted close to an aircraft carrier and were certain they had been spotted, but no help ever arrived. A military helicopter flew low over the refugees' ship on another occasion, but again no assistance was given.

U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos said more than 746,000 people have fled Libya since the fighting began in February, and about 5,000 remain stranded at border points in Egypt, Tunisia and Niger.

Amos told the U.N. Security Council Monday that the way international sanctions are implemented in Libya is delaying the delivery of supplies to the country's embattled population. She said one problem is Libya's centralized distribution system.

The U.N. humanitarian coordinator also asked all parties in the fighting to agree to a temporary pause in hostilities to enable the delivery of food, water, medical supplies and other aid to needy populations.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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

You May Like

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs