01 March 2011

'Refugee crisis' on Libyan national boundaries

The predicament on Libya's border with Tunisia has attained crisis stage, as tens of thousands of foreigners flee unrest inside the nation, the UN says.

Help employees appear unable to cope with the influx, say correspondents. Some 140,000 have gone to Tunisia and Egypt.

Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has instructed Western journalists he is loved by his individuals and denied protests in Tripoli.

His interview came amid studies that he is attempting to regain manage of rebel regions in western Libya.

Col Gaddafi is going through a massive challenge to his 41-year rule, with protesters in manage of towns inside the east.

Witnesses mentioned pro-Gaddafi forces tried to retake the western cities of Zawiya, Misrata and Nalut on Monday but had been repulsed by rebels aided by defecting army units.

The rebels mentioned they'd killed eight pro-Gaddafi militia, but there had been no opposition fatalities. There has long been no phrase through the federal government on casualties.

You can find fears in Zawiya the metropolis could be attacked through the air, but the rebels remained defiant.

"We're not
right here for power, authority or income," they mentioned inside a concept aimed at Col Gaddafi.

"We are right here for that trigger of independence and the price tag we are prepared to spend is with our personal blood... It really is victory or demise."

In other developments:

* The Red Cross is requesting use of western Libya, amid unconfirmed studies of attacks on physicians and summary killings of sufferers
* Austria freezes assets with the Libyan leadership really worth one.2bn euros ($1.65bn; £1.02bn) as Germany freezes the bank account of a single of Col Gaddafi's sons
* Libyan air power planes reportedly attacked ammunition depots inside the eastern towns of Ajdabiya and Rajma
* About 400 protesters gathered inside the Tripoli suburb of Tajoura on Monday - Gaddafi supporters tried to disperse them by firing inside the air
* Reports say there are long queues in Tripoli banking institutions as individuals tried to collect the 500 dinars (£250; $410) promised through the federal government in an attempt to quell the unrest


A spokeswoman for that UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Melissa Fleming, mentioned 70,000-75,000 individuals have fled to Tunisia since violence started in Libya on 20 February. A similar quantity have gone to Egypt, where most are capable to continue their journeys onward.

"Our employees about the Libya-Tunisia border have instructed us this morning the predicament there exists reaching crisis stage," she mentioned, quoted by AFP news agency.

About two,000 individuals are crossing into Tunisia each and every hour but the moment in Tunisia many of them have nowhere to go. Yet another 20,000 are mentioned to be backed up about the Libyan facet.

Most are Egyptian, but you can find also substantial figures of Chinese and Bangladeshis.

The Egyptians are angry, complaining that they've been forgotten by their federal government, says the BBC's Jim Muir about the border.

Temperatures plummeted overnight and our correspondent noticed the body of a young Egyptian man who had apparently died of chilly.