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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Refugees fear for lives amid fighting in western Libya

The Eritrean refugee, who has been held in the detention center for about three years, told The Associated Press: 'We are surrounded by war ... airstrikes'

AP , Saturday 28 Dec 2019
Migrants at a detention center in Zawiyah, west of Tripoli, on June 17, 2017. (AFP)
Migrants at a detention center in Zawiyah, west of Tripoli, on June 17, 2017. (AFP)
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An Eritrean refugee and an aid worker say that heavy fighting has put a Libyan detention center packed with refugees at risk as militias also use the center as an army barracks.

The refugee sent audio and text messages from inside the Al-Nasr Martyrs detention center in the western city of Zawiya, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the capital Tripoli. The sound of heavy gunfire can be heard in the background.

Since April, Libyan National Army (LNA) led by commander Khalifa Hifter has waged an offensive against Tripoli, where the UN-recognized Government of National Accord is based.

The Eritrean refugee, who has been held in the detention center for about three years, told The Associated Press: "We are surrounded by war ... airstrikes."

The migrant spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the militiamen who control the center. Most migrants stuck in Libya's in detention system do not disclose their identities for fear of their own safety and often that of their families back home, where some are fleeing persecution.

An aid worker confirmed the fighting is close to the detention center. He spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

*This story had been edited by Ahram Online 

 

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