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  • Migrants are seen at the Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency in Tajora shelter center in Tripoli.

    Migrants are seen at the Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency in Tajora shelter center in Tripoli. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 April 2019
Opinion

The group of migrants, mainly Eritrean, Sudanese and Nigerian, was transferred from the Qasr Ben Gashir district to a detention center in Zawiya.

The United Nations (U.N.) evacuated more than 350 migrants Thursday from a detention center in southern Tripoli, as the battle rages between General Khalifa Haftar’s forces and the U.N.-backed government. 

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The group of migrants, mainly Eritrean, Sudanese and Nigerian, was transferred from the Qasr Ben Gashir district to a detention center in Zawiya, a town 40 km west of the capital, bringing the total evacuees to 825 refugees and migrants in the last two weeks. The UN refugee agency (Unhcr) called for the release of a remaining 3,000 in custody.

“We don’t want to leave. ... We have no place to go,” said a 20-year-old migrant, sitting on a mattress in a packed warehouse where 550 migrants have been held.

Artillery and anti-aircraft fighting were reported in the southern parts of the city, as the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Haftar, continues its offensive on Tripoli, but which, so far, has failed to reach the city’s southern defenses.

Meanwhile, the LNA still holds the forward base of Gharyan, a town 80 km south of Tripoli, which is difficult to take due to its mountainous location from which attacks have been coordinated, thus proving that the situation is nowhere near its end. 

The final push for the capital started on April 4, after the LNA took over most of the country’s territory, with Tripoli being the last stronghold of the Government of National Accord (GNA).  With fighting between the two sides entering its third week, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamed Siala, added last Monday, that LNA troops must depart the capital in order to make way for a political resolution and ceasefire.

According to the World Health Organization, at least 264 people have been killed in the last three weeks, while 1,332 others have been wounded. 

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