Monday, March 7, 2011

Six Nigerians killed by Libyan soldiers

Indications emerged, weekend, that no fewer than six Nigerians had been killed in the ongoing political crisis in Libya while more than 12,440 others were trapped in Tripoli and Benghazi.

This came as 1,243 Nigerians who had been stranded in Tripoli were evacuated, yesterday, with the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, using three aircraft for the operation.

Vanguard learnt that the six Nigerians were killed on their way to Tripoli from Benghazi after a bus they were travelling in came across Libyan soldiers who ordered the driver to return to where he was coming from. When the driver reportedly refused, the soldiers opened fire on the bus and the six Nigerians were killed instantly.

It was gathered that the whereabout of the only survivor remained unknown, though he was believed to have managed to join other trapped Nigerians at the Tripoli airport.

Giving details of the predicament of Nigerians in Libya in a statement, a group named Destinymakers Community Christian Campaigns & Action Network, DCCCAN, said that of the Nigerians stranded in Tripol 1000 were women; 170 babies; 5,720 youths, and 235 men, giving a total of 7,125. The group said that in Benghazi, there were 306 children; 2, 502 women and 2, 507 men, giving a total of 5, 315.

The statement said: "In the wake of crises in the Mid-east, none has posed more danger to Nigerians like the on going onslaught and massacre in Libya. Statistics put together by our organization through, Mr. Ben Igbokwe, and Mr. Solomon Okoduwa, both Nigerians at the Tripoli airport shows the figure of Nigerians stranded in Tripoli as women 1000, babies, 170, youths 5, 720, men, 235 giving a total of 7,125 Nigerians at Tripoli airport alone. Also, another Nigerian in Benghazi, Mr. Samson Aja, gave the latest figure of Nigerians in Benghazi as, children 306, women 2, 502, men 2, 507, giving a total of 5, 315 Nigerians in Benghazi.

"In the same vein, six Nigerians were reported to have died today (Saturday) on their way to Tripoli from Benghazi. We gathered from the only survival, that on their way to Tripoli on a bus they came across Libyan soldiers who ordered the driver to return to where he was coming from, but the driver refused, only for the soldiers to open fire on the bus and six Nigerians were killed instantly. The where about of one is unknown as the only survivor managed to join others at the Tripoli airport.

The Federal Government, yesterday, evacuated more Nigerians from crisis-turned Libya. Director General of National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, the coordinating agency for the operation, Muhammad Sani_Sidi, said three aircraft arrived Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, yesterday, with 1243 Nigerians who had been stranded in Tripoli due to the on_going political crisis in Libya.

He said: "The operation has witnessed the deployment of four chartered planes with capacity to accommodate 500 passengers each as well as a commercial aircraft that could accommodate around 200 passengers. So far, the total number of Nigerians that had been evacuated is 2278."

The agency targeted 2000 Nigerians initially, but discovered that more stranded Nigerians continued to troop out from remote areas of Libya to Tripoli Airport, seeking to be evacuated back to Nigeria.

Director, North and Horn of Africa Division, Mr. Timloh B. Nkem, who represented the Minister of Foreign Affairs; Mr Odein Ajumogobia, said about 3000 additional Nigerians had been registered with the Embassy official in Libya, indicating their desire to be evacuated.

The returnees, who looked exhausted and tired from the stress in Libya, commended President Goodluck Jonathan for initiating the move for their evacuation. Two of them delivered babies at Tripoli Airport while awaiting the arrival of chartered aircraft from Nigeria.

Another pregnant, woman among the returnees, who simply gave her name as Mary, said "if not for the evacuation, I wonder how I could deliver in that hard condition in crowded open camp.

"I am happy that the government provide food and medications to us, including our arrival here in Nigeria."


Related stories: Nigerians killed in Libyan Protests 

 499 Nigerians evacuated from Libya

Embattled President Muammar Gaddafi Threatens to Blow Up Oil Pipelines

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