Libya crisis: Sushma Swaraj asks Indians stranded in Tripoli to leave immediately

File photo of Sushma Swaraj. Photograph:( PTI )

ANI New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 19, 2019, 08.01 PM (IST)

The External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday appealed to around 500 Indians to leave Tripoli "immediately," as the situation continues to deteriorate in Libya.

The Indian civilians continue to remain in the Libyan capital, despite massive evacuations and a travel ban which is in place, according to Swaraj.

"Even after massive evacuation from Libya and the travel ban, there are over 500 Indian nationals in Tripoli. The situation in Tripoli is deteriorating fast. Presently, flights are operational. Please, ask your relatives and friends to leave Tripoli immediately. We will not be able to evacuate them later," she tweeted.

Efforts to evacuate all Indians have been underway ever since tensions rose in Tripoli on April 4, when Khalifa Haftar announced an attack on the Libyan capital to capture the region from the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).

India already removed its entire contingent of peacekeeping forces comprising of 15 CRPF personnel on April 6 from Tripoli, a move which was followed by countries like the United States and Nepal.

More than 200 people have lost their lives and 913 have been wounded ever since clashes erupted in the region as Haftar's Libyan National Army advanced towards Tripoli.

Libya has been largely divided into two factions ever since the death of its dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

The LNA-backed parliament controls the east of Libya, while the UN-backed interim GNA governs Libya's western region from Tripoli.

Most of the international community has urged for a peaceful resolution to the intense fighting which has ensued in the African nation.

Story highlights

Sushma Swaraj said that if the Indians stranded in the Libyan capital do not leave immediately, then it may not be possible to evacuate them later.