Thousands flee Libya into Tunisia
Eyewitnesses tell of Libya bloodshed
El Arabiya News Channel, Sunday, 27 February 2011 http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/02/27/139434.html
TUNIS (Leila Ateyatallah)
Tunisia’s border with Libya has been witnessing unprecedented activity since the outbreak of the Libyan revolt on February 17 as thousands of Tunisians and nationals of other countries, especially Egypt, flee the violent government crackdownon protestors.
“What the are currently facing is nothing less than a massacre, or a holocaust, or even genocide,” said Adnan Ben Karim, a construction laborer crossing back to Tunisia.
“African mercenaries have turned Libya into a mass grave,” he told AlArabiya.net. “Bodies and body parts are scattered all over the place.”
Ashraf said that Tunisians and Egyptians are particularly persecuted in Libya and are accrding to him the targets of a conspiracy by Gaddafi and his sons.
“The moment the identity of Tunisians and Egyptians is revealed, they are beaten, and called the worst names,” he told AlArabiya.net. “They are also accused of being the cause of Libya’s tragedy and of instigating Libyans against their leader.”
Al-Sayed Ahmed expressed his concern for his friends who did not manage to escape from Libya.
“My joy for returning will not be complete unless the others go back to Tunisia,” he told Al Arabiya.net. “Huge numbers are not capable of fleeing and the numbers of the dead and the injured are much more than what is stated in the media.”
Hanan, a Tunisian woman married to a Libyan, said conditions in Libya are extremely bad and that her children are in a state of fright because of what they witnessed.
Hanan also praised the Libyan people for their support of people from other countries.
“Had it not been for the Libyan people’s help, I wouldn’t have been able to escape,” she told AlArabiya.net. “Despite the hard times they were going through, they supported us and provided us with the money and transportation needed to flee to Tunisia.”
In addition to those fleeing the bloodshed in Libya, several other thousands have been congregating around the Tunisian-Libyan border and organizing solidarity marches in support of the Libyan revolution.
Around 30,000 Tunisians took part in a demonstration on the border with Libya and carried placards that read “The Arabs are not to be insulted” and “From Marrakesh till Ras Jdir, we are one people.”
According to official estimates, since February 20 more than 30,000 fled from Libya into Tunisia, 10,000 of them Tunisians and the rest from different countries particularly Egypt, Syria, Turkey, and China.
Tunisian National Guard forces were deployed across the 280-kilometer border with Libya to insure the safety of the refugees and offer them the required support as well as to secure the border area.
In coordination with civil defense forces, members of the National Guard set up tents for the refugees and offered them first aid services. An army mobile medical unit equipped with an operations room was also established and several ambulances were made available at the borders.
Doctors and medics flocked from several Tunisian governorates like Sfax, Gabès, and Gabsa to transfer the injured and provide them with the required medical care.
Residents of the cities of Medenine, Ben Gardane, and Zarzis in the border governorate of Medenine sent more than 30 buses to transfer Tunisians to their home towns and also opened up theri homes refugees from Libya.