Bulgarian Family Stranded amidst Heavy Fighting in Libya's Tripoli

Diplomacy | August 25, 2011, Thursday // 17:57|  views

Libyan rebels from the Tripoli Brigade are seen outside their compound in the center of Tripoli, Libya, on 24 August 2011. EPA/BGNES

A Bulgarian family is blocked in its home in the Libyan capital Tripoli amidst continuing fighting between loyalists of dictator Muammar Gaddafi and the Libyan rebels, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The Bulgarian family is trying to evacuate from Tripoli but cannot because of the fighting, a spokesman of the IOM, a global inter-governmental organization, told the Bulgarian National Radio Thursday afternoon.

"They are trapped – you can imagine the situation since there is information about snipers in the area. So they cannot get out and get help from us. Our team is in touch with the family and is trying to arrange its transportation to the port," IOM spokesman Jumbe Omari Jumbe is quoted as saying.

He has been unable to provide information about the exact number of stranded Bulgarians in Tripoli. A ship of the International Organization for Migration is evacuating foreigners from Tripoli to Benghazi, and the IOM has declared readiness to send more evacuation vessels.

After the civil war conflict in Libya started in February 2011, Bulgaria's government participated international evacuation efforts in the spring of 2011, which, however, turned out to be something of an embarrassment after a Bulgarian government plane came back almost empty at one point, with some of the Bulgarians living in Libya unwilling to leave.

A large number of Bulgarians – up to 15 000 in the 1980s – worked in Libya during the Cold War but their number has declined substantially since the early 1990s.

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Tags: Libya, rebels, Tripoli, snipers, Muammar Gaddafi, Jumbe Omari Jumbe, IMO, International Organization for Migration, evacuation


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