NEW DELHI: Indian nationals have started to leave Libya, many through the land border into Tunisia, even as most airports remain inoperative with violence continuing between rival militia.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that Indian mission has been touch with the 4,500 Indian nationals, through 62 co-ordinators. Among them, there are 750 nurses, mostly from Kerala.
On Monday, the Indian embassy had issued an advisory asking all Indian nationals to leave Libya by “all available means”.
While Tripoli and Benghazi international airports were the epicentre of fighting, smaller airports were open, but only operating limited flights by Al Afriqiya and Libyan Airlines.
With land borders open, there has been a trickle of people leaving Libya. “Several Indian nationals have begun to return using the land route from Libya to Tunisia,” said Akbaruddin.
He informed that consular staff will be deployed at the border to assist Indian nationals returning from Libya. Akbaruddin said that these steps were taken after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj reviewed the security situation in Libya.
Besides, additional staff has been put in place in Indian embassies in Tripoli and Tunis to enable smoother return of Indian nationals.
“The Mission is facilitating return of Indian nationals and working with the Libyan authorities to obtain necessary exit permissions for Indian nationals wanting to return,” said the MEA spokesperson.
If citizens are unable to pay for their return journey, the funds from the Indian community welfare fund would be used to sponsor their travel to India.
Meanwhile, Kerala has apparently forwarded a list of 118 nurses in Libya, who want to return.