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The UN said yesterday it had evacuated 163 refugees from war-ravaged Libya to neighbouring Niger, but more than 3,000 others were still trapped in detention centres affected by clashes.


The move marked the first evacuation of refugees and migrants out of Libya since fighting escalated in Tripoli two weeks ago, the UN refugee agency said.

"Given the situation in Libya, humanitarian evacuations are a lifeline for detained refugees whose lives are in jeopardy in Libya," UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said in a statement.

The operation came as fierce fighting continued between forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar and those backing the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).

The renewed fighting has killed over 200 people and left more than 900 wounded, the World Health Organization said Thursday.

More than 25,000 have been displaced, according to the International Organization for Migration. Dozens of women and children were among those evacuated on the UNHCR flight that landed in Niger early Friday morning.

They had all been held in detention centres near the frontlines of the conflict.

UNHCR said it had previously relocated many of them from the Abu Selim and Ain Zara centres to its Gathering and Departure Facility (GDF) in the centre of the capital.

 

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