Sudanese nationals ‘killed in Libya violence’

“Fall of random rocket” on area outside Tripoli has claimed 18 lives, but minister rules out evacuation of Sudanese.

Tripoli Libya map

Eighteen Sudanese have been killed by a rocket strike in the Libyan capital, but Sudan’s government says the situation does not yet warrant an evacuation of its nationals, according to state media reports.

A briefing to cabinet on Tuesday said “18 Sudanese nationals were killed in one incident due to fall of a random rocket on the area of their residence on the outskirts of Tripoli”, the state SUNA news agency reported late Tuesday, quoting Omer Mohammed Salih, the cabinet spokesman.

SUNA did not say when the deaths occurred.

Ali Karti, Sudan’s foreign minister, said that although Sudanese have been killed, “the situation in Libya did not yet reach the critical stage that necessitates evacuation of the Sudanese there”, SUNA reported on Monday.

Khartoum’s embassy in Tripoli “did not receive any call from a Sudanese national demanding his evacuation from Libya to Sudan”, but the government is ready to intervene and get them out if asked, Salih said.

Since mid-July, Libya has seen clashes between rival militias in Tripoli, where fighting broke out again on Monday, and in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Violence in those cities has killed more than 220 people, wounded around 1,000, and prompted an exodus of foreign nationals from the oil-rich North African nation.

A Sudanese national told Radio Dabanga on Monday that about a thousand Sudanese employees of Libyan companies had sought refuge in the area of Brega.

“The situation is catastrophic. We want to return to Sudan but all the roads are blocked because of the clashes between government troops, militias, and Islamist groups. In addition, people who left the yard have been prone to armed robberies,” the radio station quoted the Sudanese worker as saying.

Tripoli airport has been closed since fighters attacked it on July 13 in a bid to wrest control from the Zintan brigade of former rebels who have held it since 2011. Radio Dabanga stated that at least 600 Sudanese were trapped there as well.

Libya has been a popular destination for Sudanese migrant workers seeking better opportunities.

The foreigners’ exodus gathered pace at the weekend when Britain and Greece sent ships to evacuate nationals.

The Philippines said on Tuesday it would send a ship to pick up at least 700 of its citizens trapped in Libya.

Source: AFP, Al Jazeera