Libya: 'I’m afraid the fighting will make police flee the detention center and leave us in here'
April 15, 2019
For several days, Tripoli and its surroundings have been the scenes of violent clashes between the internationally recognized government and the self-styled Libyan National Army which has advanced on the capital. As the security situation in Libya deteriorates, food and medical supplies are quickly running out in the country’s migrant detention centers, whose detainees are growing increasingly worried for their safety.
"We have all seen the atrocious images of the detention centers in Libya. It’s a disgrace for the whole world […] With the latest events in Libya, the situation could get even worse," Dimitris Avramopoulos, the European Union’s Commissioner for Migration, warned in a speech held at the American think-tank Atlantic Council’s headquarters in Washington D.C. earlier this week. Avramopoulos was trying to bring attention to the many migrants currently stuck in Libyan detention centers as the country’s security crisis deepens.
Libya’s crisis worsened dramatically on April 4, when Field Marshall Khalifa Haftar - the head of the LNA - launched a flash offensive on Tripoli. Backed up by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and various Islamist groups in eastern Libya, the LNA has been pushing south in recent months in a bid to seize the capital. In the past few days, fighting has flared around the city, as the internationally recognized government holds up its defense with the help of allied militia groups from Mistrata, east of the capital.
In the Zintan detention center, south of Tripoli, Charles says he’s extremely worried by the current situation. The only way he’s been able to keep himself informed about what’s going on outside the center is through rumors. "There is a lot of talk about the fighting and what’s going on right now, but there’s nothing we can do. At the moment it’s calm, there are no shots being fired. But I’m really scared, there’s nothing to keep us safe here. There are women and children in here," he tells InfoMigrants.
We are very concerned about the situation in Ain Zara & Qaser Ben Gashir detention centres that are in areas or ongoing clashes - refugees and migrants should be protected. We are ready to support with options offering safety as we have access @Refugees
— UNHCR Libya (@UNHCRLibya) April 7, 2019
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