West Africans flee Libya

2011-04-13 22:34

Niamey - More than 36 000 West Africans have fled unrest in Libya by crossing into Niger in the past two months, over a quarter of them in the past week, public radio reported Wednesday.

Most of the arrivals, monitored from February 13, were Niger nationals, the Voice of the Sahel public radio station reported.

About 10 000 people arrived in Niger's northern capital Agadez on about 50 trucks between on Saturday and Tuesday, including women and children, it said.

"To April 11, 36 300 people including 33 800 Nigeriens and 2 500 other West Africans fleeing the violence in Libya have been registered in Agadez," the report said.

Its figures issued on April 8 said more than 26 000 had left Libya.

Images on Niger public television showed people perched on trucks piled with baggage, appearing exhausted after their desert crossing.

The United Nations has said it expects around 2 000 new arrivals a week in Niger in the next three months.

Oil-rich Libya has been a major source of employment for West Africans, many of whom work there irregularly. They started leaving after an uprising was launched against the government of Muammar Gaddafi in February.