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UN warned of Libya refugee crisis, civil war
August 28, 2014, 2:43 am

A coalition of Islamist fighters seized control of the airport on August 24 after two months of ongoing battles [Xinhua]

A coalition of Islamist fighters seized control of the airport on August 24 after two months of ongoing battles [Xinhua]

The UN Security Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution which called for an immediate ceasefire in Libya, and warned of sanctions against armed groups and individuals if the violence persisted.

The resolution comes as a senior UN official revealed that more than 100,000 Libyans are estimated to be internally displaced and at least 150,000 have fled the country due to pitch battles between rival militias for control of the capital Tripoli, and strategic city of Benghazi.

UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Tarek Mitri told the UN Security Council that recent fighting between militias has been “unprecedented in its gravity … and very alarming”.

“There is a general deterioration of living conditions. Food, fuel, water and electricity are in short supply.”

“The threat from the spread of terrorist groups has become real,” Mitri said. “Their presence and activity in a number of Libyan cities are known to all.”

Last week, dozens of civilians were killed and injured when rival militias shelled neighborhoods near the airport, which has been the focus of much fighting since June 13.

An Islamist alliance of fighters – known as Libya Dawn – seized the airport on August 24.

The Libyan government has labeled them a terrorist organization.

Meanwhile, Libya’s United Nations Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi told the Security Council that the situation in Libya has grown more complex and “might unravel into a full-blown civil war if we’re not very careful and wise in our actions”.

On August 1, China evacuated hundreds of its nationals from Libya due to the worsening security situation just a week after Washington closed its embassy in the Libyan capital.

US embassy staff were transported to Tunisia in a convoy under US military escort.

The UN withdrew its staff when the airport was closed in mid-July saying they could not operate while the airport remained closed.

Source: Agencies

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