3,000 migrants stranded in southern Libya: IOM

13th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

The number of migrants stranded in the besieged southern Libyan town of Sebha has increased to 3,000, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said Tuesday.

"Out of the 3,000, 2,000 of them are Chadian and what we are now seeing is migrants from many other nationalities including Arab countries and Pakistan," IOM spokeswoman Jemini Pandya told reporters.

"They began seeking refuge at our centres some weeks ago, but their numbers have increased significantly in the past few days," she said.

Pandya said a Chadian consular official in Sebha had told the IOM that there was heavy fighting in the town over the weekend and that the security situation was deteriorating.

"The transit centre, like Sebha itself is fast running out of food. There is no running water and no electricity," she said.

The migrants will be evacuated by road as soon as the safe passage can be ensured, and an air evacuation was ruled out because of security reasons, Pandya said.

Meanwhile, she said that the IOM had begun evacuating over half of the 2,000 Sub-Saharan Africans who are stranded in the town of Dirkou in neighbouring Niger, after having fled fighting in Libya.

"There has been a surge in Sub-Saharan Africans arriving, largely citing the targeting of Africans as the reason for leaving," she said.

Evacuation was beeing hampered by the lack of fuel in Dirkou, Pandya said, which before the conflict came from Libya and was "affordable".

© 2011 AFP

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