External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Sunday that India evacuated its entire contingent of peacekeeping forces, comprising 15 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel, from Tripoli after the situation there “suddenly worsened”.
“The situation in Libya has suddenly worsened. There is fighting in Tripoli. Indian Embassy in Tunisia @IndiainTunisia has evacuated the entire contingent of 15 CRPF personnel yesterday itself. I appreciate the excellent work by the Indian Embassy in Tunisia. #Libya,” Sushma Swaraj tweeted.
This came after Eastern Libyan Army Commander Khalifa Haftar on Thursday ordered his forces, the Libyan National Army (LNA), to take over Tripoli — the capital of the United Nations-backed government — amid reports of escalating political tension in the country.
The US also said Sunday that it had temporarily withdrawn some of its forces from Libya due to “security conditions on the ground”.
A small contingent of American troops has been in Libya in recent years helping local forces combat Islamic State and al-Qaida militants, as well as protecting diplomatic facilities.
Haftar has been accused of violating agreements by Fayez Sarraj, the Prime Minister of the Tripoli-based UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA).
After years-long civil conflict, Libya currently has no single government. The LNA is backing the Tobruk-based Parliament, which governs the East of Libya, and the GNA controls Libya’s western parts from Tripoli.
Even though a deal was signed in 2015 which created the GNA as the legitimate Libyan government, it was not fully implemented due to disagreements with the Tobruk-based Parliament.
Fighting between the LNA and forces backing the GNA was underway Sunday at the international airport, some 24 km from central Tripoli, after Haftar claimed to have seized the area.
(With AP Inputs)