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Migrants are seen at the Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency in al-Nasr detnetion center in Zawiya, west of Tripoli Migrants are seen at the Anti-Illegal Immigration Agency in al-Nasr detnetion center in Zawiya, west of Tripoli 

Pope appeals for safe passage for refugees from Libyan detention centers

During the Regina Coeli prayer in St. Peter’s Square Pope Francis expressed his concern for the predicament of migrants and refugees held in detention centers in Libya.

By Linda Bordoni

Pope Francis has asked for prayers for vulnerable refugees trapped detention centers in Libya, where conflict is raging.

Addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the Regina Coeli prayer, the Pope said the  situation of the refugees, “which is already very serious, has become even more dangerous due to the ongoing conflict”.

He appealed for the evacuation, especially of the women, the children and the sick, as soon as possible, through the safety of humanitarian corridors.

The conflict in Libya

As troops loyal to Libya’s internationally recognized government prepare to launch a counteroffensive on the forces of renegade commander Khalifa Haftar,  scores of refugees and migrants are reportedly taken from detention centers, and forced to assist militants aligned with the UN-backed Tripoli government.

The Interior Minister told journalists on Saturday that within three days or so there will be a full scale attack to repel the renegade forces from the entire western region.

The announcement came as the UN expressed concern over reports of indiscriminate shelling in populated areas. It is esteemed that over 220 people have been killed.

The International Organization for Migration said 39,000 people were displaced by fighting along the capital's southern districts.

Libyan National Army forces, loyal to Khalifa Haftar, and which are allied to a parallel government in the east, started an offensive three week ago to take the capital held by the internationally recognised government.

Pope Francis called for an end to the bloodshed in Libya during his Urbi et Orbi address on Easter Day.

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28 April 2019, 12:30