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700,000 displaced in Libya conflict — UN

Abuja, May 15, 2019 (NAN) The United Nations on Wednesday said nearly 70,000 people had been displaced as a result of clashes in and around Tripoli, the Libyan capital.

UN spokesman, Mr Staphane Dujarric, quoted the report released by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), as saying that 100,000 others were “thought to remain in the front‑line areas amid deteriorating conditions”.

“Some 3,300 refugees and migrants are trapped in detention centres that are already exposed to or are in close proximity to fighting.

“Access to food, water and health care is severely restricted at these facilities as a result of the conflict,” Dujarric said.

Libya has been in turmoil since the death of its longtime leader, Col. Muammar Gaddafi in the popular Arab spring of 2011.

Fighting has been raging since Khalifa Haftar, a military commander based in eastern Libya, launched an offensive to take control of Tripoli from the UN-support unity government on April 3.

The UN has been calling for a cease-fire in the conflict that has killed at least 400 people so far.

Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), an ally of a parallel administration based in Benghazi, has refused to recognise Tripoli government.

“We are worried about the dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation in Tripoli,” a statement on the IOM’s website quoted Othman Belbeisi, its head of mission in Libya as saying.

“The situation is especially alarming for over 3,300 migrants, among them children and pregnant women.

“We reiterate that there is an urgent need to end the detention of migrants in Libya and stop displacement.

“While our teams on the ground continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected populations, we recognise that more needs to be done from all sides to ensure the safety of civilians.” (NAN)

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