Maltese nationals in Libya have asked to be evacuated as military clashes between militias in Tripoli intensify, government sources said.
Libya’s UN-backed government declared a state of emergency on Sunday as militias from a city to the south of Tripoli attacked southern areas of the densely populated capital.
The Ministry of Health of Libya reported on Monday that about 47 people, including civilians, had died in the rival militia clashes in Tripoli over the past week, with dozens more injured.
The sources in the Maltese government said efforts are under way to sort out logistics for a possible evacuation of about 25 Maltese nationals based in Tripoli and western Libya.
“As you can appreciate, this is a delicate matter and the situation is quite complex at the moment. What we can say is that efforts are being made to see what can be done,” a senior government source told the Times of Malta.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday morning said all Maltese in Tripoli are safe and it is monitoring the situation.
Should any Maltese national wish to get in touch with the ministry on this evolving situation, they should call on (+356) 21 242 191.
The Libyan authorities closed Tripoli airport last week after rockets were fired in that direction.
Informed sources said, however, that the situation in the heart of Tripoli was calm.
The Nationalist Party in a statement expressed its concern about the situation in the Libyan capital and augured that efforts to find a solution succeed.
Shadow minister Carm Mifsud Bonnici expressed concern that the Maltese government had lost its important strategic position in diplomacy and was showing itself ill-prepared to cater for the Maltese people’s needs in Libya.
The PN urged the government to step up efforts for stability to be restored in Libya and for Maltese nationals to be brought to Malta safely.
Hundreds of people - Maltese and foreign - were evacuated to Malta from Libya in 2014 at the height of the uprising that toppled long-term leader Muammar Gaddafi. The evacuations were initially made by chartered catamaran, but other vessels and later warships from several countries were used.
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