27 February 2015
Libya - In what is hoped will be the first of many evacuations of stranded third country nationals in the coming weeks, IOM today organized the successful departure of 133 Senegalese men from the Karareem reception center in Misrata, Libya, and their flight home from Tunisia.
The evacuees are part of a group of 401 Senegalese IOM plans to return to their homeland over the next week, and perhaps the first of thousands who will be able to leave Libya safely after months of waiting.
For this operation, IOM worked in close cooperation with the Tunisian authorities, and with Senegal’s Tunis embassy to secure travel documents for all 401 stranded migrants. A charter airline contracted by IOM will bring the men home in three separate flights out of Djerba, Tunisia, with the first expected to arrive in Dakar this evening (27/2.)
The group of 133 departed Misrata on Thursday afternoon in three buses in a convoy that also included an ambulance and a two-vehicle police escort. The drive to Libya’s border with Tunisia took about six hours, with the convoy arriving shortly before midnight. The men spent the next nine hours in their buses until they cleared Tunisia’s passport control this morning.
“There was a bit of a delay at the border this morning, but now the men are on their way to the plane and expect to be home tonight. We are pleased things went so well,” said IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi.