UN Nepal troops arrive in Libya to guard UNHCR staffers

UN officials in early September had announced anywhere between 150 to 250 troops in the coming weeks and months.

UN troops from Nepal have arrived in Libya as part of a security detail to keep staff safe from harm.

The 59 troops will be guarding people working for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR). The troops arrived last week with another 41 waiting for deployment.

“There is still some technical problems with clearance of their weapons and that sort of thing,” said a representative of an international organisation in Brussels on Tuesday (17 October).

UN officials in early September had announced anywhere between 150 to 250 troops in the coming weeks and months.

Their arrival last week highlights the general insecurity and chaos that continues to reign throughout much of the country, as armed militia groups terrorise broad swathes of the population and complicate EU efforts to stem migration flows.

Some 220,000 Libyans remain displaced because of the fighting. Libya is also the main departure point for migrants and refugees leaving for Europe. Over 109,000 landed in Italy from Libya since the start of the year.

The EU is backing and supporting the work by the UNHCR and the Geneva-based International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

Both organisations have been in Libya for the past couple of years but turmoil has broadly restricted international staff access.

The IOM has 230 national staff throughout the country but has to rotate international staff every few days given UN security rules.

(Source: EUObserver)

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