Living conditions at the Tajoura detention centre are deteriorating rapidly after it was bombed last week. Some refugees would rather stay in the open and not return to their shelter.
Tajoura is located in the eastern areas of the Libyan capital, Tripoli, which has seen weeks of military conflict since the offensive launched by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) in April.
In recent days, a detention centre accommodating refugees in Tajoura was hit by an LNA airstrike and heavily damaged. The refugees from the detention centre are demanding that international organisations move them to safer countries and are making their point by refusing to accept food aid.
“The humanitarian situation, as you see, is very despicable. We have not received any assistance from the United Nations, although we are under the auspices of the United Nations for refugee affairs”, said Sabeel Adam, a refugee from Sudan.
The strike is alleged to have killed 44 people, with dozens more injured. There have even been claims that the local security forces executed refugees from the detention centre amidst the military clashes. These claims have nevertheless been rejected by the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli.
“I assure everyone and all the world that the migrants have not been executed”, noted Muhammad al-Shaybani, a representative of the GNA’s Ministry of Migration Affairs.
The extreme instability in Tripoli has pushed the refugees to make demands to be moved to safer countries. Some of the refugees have noted that the local security forces have attempted to force them back into the detention centre; however, the refugees have refused to re-enter due to safety concerns and they are currently stranded outside. They have already rejected a plan proposed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to take them to a different location in Tripoli. Their demand is to leave the city altogether.
Those refugees who have ended up in Libya have themselves fled from wars and conflict in other parts of Africa. An unfortunate series of circumstances has brought them to Tripoli, where the military conflict is still raging.