Libyan “migration tsunami” as thousands pour into Tunisia to escape Gaddafi’s loyalists

February 28th, 2011 - 12:29 pm ICT by ANI  

Tunis, Feb 28 (ANI): Aid workers in Tunisia are reportedly facing a “migration tsunami”, with reports saying that thousands of people have poured across the border from Libya claiming that they had fled to save themselves from Colonel Muamar Gaddafi’s loyalists.

Aid officials said that over 10,000 people had streamed through the tiny border crossing of Ras Jedir, The Telegraph reports.

The paper quoted a migrant labourer as saying that the Gaddafi regime forces were arresting Tunisians and Egyptians because they thought that the migrants had helped the revolution.

“I saw six Egyptians killed by police. Just shot in the street like dogs. After that we knew that Tripoli was not safe for us,” he added.

Other people had similar stories to tell. Some of them claimed that their sim cards were seized to prevent them taking photographs or telling their stories to the outside world.

“They rounded people up, handed them guns and then took photographs and said they had tried to attack Libyan soldiers. We thought Gaddafi was a good man because he let us come to his country and have jobs. Now he is just a liar. They said we were the ones selling coffee with drugs to make people fight,” another man said.

Elizabeth Eyster, country Director of the UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency, said that more and more migrant workers were leaving because Gaddafi’s regime appeared unstable, and construction sites, factories and oil plants closed.

Estimating that over 10,000 people had passed through the border, Eyster said: “More and more people are coming through every day. It started with a trickle on Sunday last week but now we are facing a migration tsunami. None of us were expecting such large numbers.” (ANI)

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