AFRICANGLOBE – Foreigners have been urged to leave Libya by their governments, as fighting spreads across the country. Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands have joined the US in urging citizens to leave as soon as possible.
More Western countries on Sunday warned their citizens to leave Libya amid the deadliest level of violence since the 2011 war that toppled late dictator Moammar Gaddafi.
Britain, France, Germany and the Netherlands followed the lead of the United States, which on Saturday had withdrawn embassy staff from the capital, Tripoli. Washington cited a “real risk” of intensifying fighting near the city’s airport.
“Given the deteriorating security situation, France is asking its nationals to leave Libya,” the French Foreign Ministry said in its warning. It added that nationals still in the country – thought to number some 100 – should contact the embassy “as quickly as possible.”
The German Foreign Ministry said that its nationals were thought to be at increased risk from kidnapping and attacks. “The situation is extremely unpredictable and uncertain,” the ministry said.
Meanwhile, the Dutch government said its request for some 70 citizens in Libya was “urgent.” Those registered with the embassy had been warned by email and SMS, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said.
‘Leave Now By Commercial Means’
The British government on Sunday said that it was updating its advice for nationals not to travel to Libya, telling them to leave forthwith.
“Due to the ongoing and greater intensity of fighting in Tripoli and wider instability throughout Libya, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against all travel to Libya,” its website said. “British nationals in Libya should leave now by commercial means.”
The fighting around Tripoli has seen a coalition of groups, mainly Islamists, trying to force former rebels hailing from the mountain city of Zintan out of the airport, which they have been in charge of since Gaddafi’s ouster. The Libyan Health Ministry said on Sunday that some 97 people have been killed in the last two weeks of violence in Tripoli.
In Benghazi, where forces loyal to Gen. Khalifa Hifter – considered a rogue former government fighter – are battling militias, officials said on Sunday that some 38 people had been killed in 24 hours of fighting.