Amid clashes between the UN-backed Libyan government and the east-based Army in and around the capital Tripoli, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday asked the Indians stranded there to leave the city immediately.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), at least 213 people have been killed and 1,009 others injured in the fighting in the last two weeks since renegade Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar’s troops launched a strike to oust UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj from power.
Sushma Swaraj said that over 500 Indians are stuck in Tripoli adding that if they do not leave the Libyan capital immediately, then it may not be possible to evacuate them later.
Swaraj tweeted, “Even after massive evacuation from Libya and the travel ban, there are over 500 Indian nationals in Tripoli. The situation in Tripoli is deteriorating fast. Presently, flights are operational.
“Pls ask your relatives and friends to leave Tripoli immediately. We will not be able to evacuate them later,” she said on her Twitter handle.
The Army, led by Khalifa Haftar, has been leading a military campaign since early April to take over Tripoli where the UN-backed government is based.
Libya has been struggling to make a democratic transition amid insecurity and chaos ever since the fall of former leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.
The UN said it was “deeply concerned about reports of clashes between the two parties” around the base and “the potential for widening confrontations in other areas of the country”.
More than 25,000 have been displaced, according to the International Organization for Migration.
In a symbolic move, the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) on Thursday issued an arrest warrant against Haftar for allegedly ordering deadly air strikes against civilian areas.
(With agency inputs)