Hundreds of Sudanese trapped in Libyan airport

By IAfrica
In Sudan
Aug 4th, 2014
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TRIPOLI

About 600 Sudanese nationals are still stuck at the Mitiga International Airport in Tripoli, Libya. They booked a flight to Khartoum two weeks ago.

“We completed our travel procedures, bought tickets to Khartoum, and went to the airport two weeks ago. Yet, no aircraft departed, as the fighting between militias in Tripoli forced the closure of the airport,” one of the affected told Radio Dabanga from Mitiga airport.

“We are facing a very difficult situation. We cannot leave the airport owing to the insecurity all around the place, and there are no flights anymore.”

“The airport is free of services. There are only two bathrooms at the airport. Most of us have exhausted the money in their pockets.”

Political decision

Haj Majed Suwar, the Secretary-General of Sudanese Migration Office, regulating the affairs of Sudanese working abroad, said the decision to evacuate Sudanese nationals residing in Libya is a political one. “Decisions on evacuation are to be taken by the Presidency or the Cabinet. The situation in Libya has not reached the point of evacuation yet.”

The Migration Office, in a press statement released on Saturday, reported that 59 Sudanese were killed by missile attacks in Tripoli’s Karimiya district last week.

Libya has suffered chronic insecurity since Muamar Gadhafi was overthrown in 2011. The new government has been unable to control the militias that helped to remove him, and is facing a growing threat from Islamist groups.

Fighting between rival militias in Tripoli forced the closure of the capital’s international airport. Islamist groups are battling army special forces in the eastern city of Benghazi. The UN and most embassies evacuated their staff throughout the month citing security concerns.  In the past week, many countries have ordered their citizens to leave and, in some cases, have evacuated them.

File photo: A militia member walks in a deserted terminal building at Tripoli International Airport, June 2012 (emirates247.com)

Related: Sudanese killed by missiles in Tripoli, Libya (29 July 2014)

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