Refugees fear for lives amid fighting in western Libya

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An Eritrean refugee and an aid worker say that heavy fighting has put a Libyan detention center packed with refugees at risk as militias also use the center as an army barracks.

The refugee sent audio and text messages from inside the al-Nasr Martyrs detention center in the western city of Zawiya, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the capital Tripoli. The sound of heavy gunfire can be heard in the background.


Since April, the Libyan National Army (LNA) has waged an offensive against Tripoli, where the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) is based.

The Eritrean refugee, who has been held in the detention center for about three years, told The Associated Press: “We are surrounded by war ... airstrikes.”

The migrant spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals from the militiamen who control the center. Most migrants stuck in Libya’s in detention system do not disclose their identities for fear of their own safety and often that of their families back home, where some are fleeing persecution.

An aid worker confirmed the fighting is close to the detention center. He spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons.

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