Libyan Fighting Leads UN to Evacuate Stranded Refugees
The United Nations says it has moved African refugees from a holding center in the southern part of Tripoli as fighting waged by forces loyal to a general controlling eastern Libya moved into the capital city. According to the office of the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees, the 325 people involved, mainly Nigerian, Sudanese and Eritrean nationals, were transferred to the west and a place that posed “reduced risk.” Libya has long been a transit point for Africans seeking to make it to Europe via the Mediterranean, but the dangers involved in the sea crossing have turned the North African country into something of a bottleneck. Since the overthrow of Muamar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been split between an internationally recognized government based in Tripoli, and forces loyal to a renegade general who made the eastern city of Benghazi his base. Those forces recently swept through the sparsely populated south, with its many oil fields, before swinging northwest toward Tripoli in what appears to be an effort aimed at a total takeover.