Hardships Build in Libya

Reports continue to emerge of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of migrants and refugees missing and presumed drowned in the waters off Libya—many apparently forced to leave in inadequate watercraft by forces loyal to the Libyan strongman Muammar el-Qaddafi. For those who remain trapped within Libya’s combat zones the misery appears only to worsen. “The Libyans are afraid,” said Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, O.F.M., apostolic vicar of Tripoli. “Every day thousands of people leave for Egypt and Tunisia, where refugee camps have been set up. Yesterday more than 30,000 people fled to Tunisia alone,” he said. The prelate spoke only hours after a series of NATO air strikes hit Tripoli. “We still hear the airplanes passing over the city and dropping bombs in the surrounding areas,” said Bishop Martinelli. The prelate once again called on NATO to immediately seek a ceasefire and open negotiations with the Libyan government to bring a halt to the bloodshed.

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