NEW DELHI: With the situation worsening in Tripoli and Benghazi, India has asked its 4,500 nationals in Libya to leave immediately, either through the handful of operational airports or through Tunisian and Egyptian land borders.
Libya’s two main cities have seen spiraling violence with rival militias battling to control Tripoli international airport. In Benghazi, the fighting has been between Libyan government and Islamist fighters.
In a travel advisory on Monday, the Indian embassy also asked nationals to “use all available means for exiting Libya”. Any travel from India to Libya was out of the question at present.
“They are advised to leave the country through the operational airports as well as the exit checkpoints on Libyan-Tunisian (Ras Jedir/Benghardan) and Libyan-Egyptian (Emsaeed/Salloum) borders,” said the advisory. Indians were encouraged “move in groups”.
For leaving through the border checkpoints, Indians were asked to obtain a letter from the embassy to facilitate their departure.
Giving an overview of the security situation, Indian embassy pointed out that both the Tripoli international airport and Baina airport were closed, but there are limited airport operations in Mitiga airport in Tripoli and in Misurata, which is around 200 km from the capital. al-Afriqiya and Libyan airlines have limited operations from both places. Labrak airport, about 300 km from Benghazi, is also operational.
The embassy has appointed 62 area coordinators to maintain liaison with the embassy and keep in touch with the Indian nationals. The coordinators have been asked to identify safe locations to accommodate Indian nationals who have to move out from conflict zones.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh government’s special representative in Delhi, K Rama Mohana Rao has written to External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj asking for aid for those from the State who are “stranded”.