Int'l Coverage

Nepali peacekeeping troops in Libya are safe, Nepal Army says

  • The United States and India have evacuated their forces out of Tripoli as military strongman Khalifa Haftar pushes on with an assault on the capital.
- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

Apr 8, 2019-

While the armies from different countries are gradually moving out from Libya as the security situation in the North African country grows tense by the day, Nepal Army troops deployed as the blue helmets continue to guard the headquarters of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission.

Amid concerns from different quarters, the Nepal Army in a press statement said on Monday that the 231 personnel-strong Nepali peacekeeping force was safe and there are no immediate plans to remove them. 

The Tripoli-based headquarters of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya is housing Ghassan Salamé, special representative to UN secretary general, among other top leadership. “Though the mission has started sending some of the officials to Tunisia, the Nepali force is providing security to the mission staff and its headquarters,” the statement says.

The American forces in Libya have already been evacuated to the neighbouring countries following the security threat. India, following suit, has withdrawn its entire contingent of 15 police officers serving as peacekeepers. The Italian oil company Eni operating in the war-hit country has also announced that it will withdraw all of its Italian employees from the country.

Dozens of people have been reported dead as Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar pushed on with his assault on Tripoli earlier this week, defying international calls for a ceasefire.

Libya’s Prime Minister, Fayez Sarraj, who is backed by the UN, has called Haftar’s actions an attempted coup. The army general has been demanding to take power unless an elected government takes the charge.

On Sunday, fighters loyal to Haftar clashed with pro-government forces in neighbourhoods south and west of Tripoli, including near the defunct international airport that Hafter’s forces claimed to control, the Washington Post reported

Dozens of militias have poured into Tripoli from cities such as Misurata and Zintan to join forces with pro-government militias to fend off Hafter.

According to Brigadier General Yam Dhakal, spokesperson for the Nepal Army, the Nepali side hasn’t taken any decision on evacuating its troops nor has the United Nations asked it to increase the number of the blue helmets.

Published: 08-04-2019 19:37

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