UN "gravely concerned" for refugees in Libya
The United Nations refugee agency UNHCR said Tuesday it had no access to the refugee community in Libya and was "gravely concerned" for their safety amid political unrest in the country, DPA reported.
The agency also appealed to "all countries to recognize the humanitarian needs at this time of all people fleeing targeted violence, threats, and other human rights abuses in Libya."
Attributing the information to "third party sources," UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said there were indications that Somali refugees are being hunted on suspicion of being African mercenaries.
Libyans have reported the presence of armed foreign mercenaries in the country, backing the government of Moamer Gaddafi and attacking opposition demonstrators.
Prior to the current unrest UNHCR, which has been trying to establish a regular presence in the country, registered over 8,000 refugees in Libya, with a further 3,000 asylum seekers. Most are from African nations and some are Iraqis and Palestinians.