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Gov’t tells OFWs not to wait any longer, and leave Libya while they can still do so

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By Roy Mabasa

The “life goes on” attitude of some overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Tripoli may soon be in peril with the further escalation of clashes between factions in Libya, following reports that foreign governments will soon be sending support for military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

The convoy of the head of Libya's UN-backed unity government, Fayez al-Sarraj, is seen moving after meeting with military and security commanders of the government forces who supervised recapture of the checkpoint 27 in Janzour, between Tripoli and the coastal town of Zawiya on April 5, 2019, hours after Haftar's forces were pushed back from the key spot, less than 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the capital. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

The convoy of the head of Libya’s UN-backed unity government, Fayez al-Sarraj, is seen moving after meeting with military and security commanders of the government forces who supervised recapture of the checkpoint 27 in Janzour, between Tripoli and the coastal town of Zawiya on April 5, 2019, hours after Haftar’s forces were pushed back from the key spot, less than 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the capital.(Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

On Saturday, the Tripoli-based Interior Minister of the Presidential Council’s government Fathi Bashagha accused the United Arab Emirates (UAE) of reportedly sending Haftar military support in “clear violation of the international law.”

Bashagha told a United States-based Arabic language TV channel on Friday that they received information about an aircraft that came from UAE and landed in Benghazi’s Benina Airport with military equipment for Haftar’s forces in violation of the UN arms embargo.

Another report disclosed that Saudi Arabia has reportedly promised Haftar “millions of dollars” to fund his war against Tripoli.

Quoting unnamed Saudi sources, the report claimed that the offer reportedly came during Haftar’s visit to Riyadh where he met with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz. The meeting occurred days before Haftar announced his military operation to occupy the Libyan capital.

The visit was preceded by other foreign visits over the past weeks when Haftar reportedly met with western officials and dignitaries.

Even with the looming danger, only a handful of OFWs has since accepted the offer of the Philippine government for them to be repatriated while the situation still permits them to do so.

A Philippine Embassy functionary in Tripoli told the media over the weekend that many OFWs consider the situation in the capital as “still normal” despite the reported clashed few kilometers away.

On April 4, Haftar, leader of the Libyan National Army (LNA) announced that he was launching a military campaign to take over Tripoli to the surprise of the Tripoli-based and United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).

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