Three thousand camels imported from Australia have been walked out of Libya’s capital Tripoli in an overnight evacuation after the port they arrived into came under artillery fire, Reuters reported.
The camels left Tripoli’s port shortly after midnight yesterday, and were herded along a highway leading west to the city of Zawiya, some 45 kilometres away, where they arrived this morning, according to a local merchant.
However, he said that a local armed group had stolen 125 of the camels as they passed through the Tripoli suburb of Janzour.
Security forces temporarily closed the road to let them pass.
The merchant said a fellow businessman from Zawiya bought the camels after hearing they were being sold off cheaply in Australia, where according to Australian media reports, thousands of camels that had begun searching for scarce water in residential areas have been culled.
Tripoli’s port, which is close to the city centre, was shelled on Tuesday by forces loyal to east Libya-based Commander Khalifa Haftar, who has been waging an offensive to take Tripoli for more than ten months.
He has been battling forces aligned with the internationally recognised government, which is based in Tripoli.
The Libyan capital has been the scene of several rounds of fighting since former ruler Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.