300 stranded at a camp in Libya

2011-02-23 15:28

London - A British oil worker, one of 300 people stranded at a camp in eastern Libya, appealed to the British government on Wednesday to rescue them, saying armed villagers had stolen their vehicles and most of their supplies.

"We are living every day in fear of our lives as the local people are armed ... We're living a nightmare here," James Coyle said in a telephone interview with BBC radio from a camp in the Amal desert region of eastern Libya.

The people at the camp have very little food and water, "maybe enough to last us one day", he said.

Some 300 people are crammed into the camp because the workers who normally live there have been joined by Germans from a nearby camp that was looted and wrecked, he said.

"Local people from the surrounding villages ... are coming in with AK-47s and just taking what they want. We have no protection against it," he said.

"They've looted ... the German camp next door, they've taken all their vehicles, all our vehicles ... everything. So we are here desperate for the British government to come and get us."

The British Foreign Office had no immediate comment.

Eastern Libya

A revolt in Libya is threatening Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule and much of eastern Libya is now in the hands of anti-Gaddafi protesters, according to local people.

There are 90 Britons at the camp as well as Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Germans, Austrians and Romanians, Coyle said.

He said the British government had ignored appeals for help made by phone and by email over the last few days.

"We need a Hercules (transport plane) in now to get us all out because it's getting very difficult here," he said, adding that there was an airport about one kilometre from the camp.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Tuesday the British government was working with airlines to help British nationals leave Libya, though two British-based airlines cancelled their flights to Libya on Tuesday.

Hague said Britain also planned to send a charter plane to Libya to bring out Britons and was dispatching a frigate to waters off Libya in case it was needed to help British nationals.

Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings

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