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UN evacuates 163 refugees from Libya to Niger

Refugees and migrants in a detention centre in Libya. [File photo]
Refugees and migrants in a detention centre in Libya [File photo]

The UN Refugee Agency on Friday evacuated 163 refugees to Niger from Libya, where fighting began earlier this month, Anadolu reports.

Some 539 refugees have been evacuated in the past 10 days from different detention centers near the conflict zone, the UN agency said in a statement.

There are still more than 3,000 refugees and migrants in Qasr Bin Ghasheer, Al Sabaa and Tajoura detention centers, it added.

"Given the situation in Libya, humanitarian evacuations are a life-line for detained refugees whose lives are in jeopardy in Libya," said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

READ: Over 12,500 refugees entered Europe in 2019

In the first days of April, Khalifa Haftar, commander of forces loyal to Libya's eastern government, launched a campaign to capture Tripoli, where a rival UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) is headquartered.

Intermittent fighting near Tripoli has left scores of people dead.

The UN has expressed fear that this new conflict will create another migration crisis.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since long-serving leader Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed in a bloody NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

Since then, the country has seen the emergence of two rival seats of power: one in eastern Libya, to which Haftar is affiliated, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN recognition.

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