12,000 Chinese evacuated from Libya

Thursday, February 24, 2011

BEIJING - Some 12,000 Chinese nationals have been evacuated from Libya where a popular revolt has been raging on to end the authoritarian rule of President Muammar Gaddafi.

They were evacuated by road, sea and air from the North African country, mainly to neighbouring countries like Greece, Egypt and Tunisia. About 450 Chinese arrived in Beijing Thursday on two chartered planes, China Daily reported Saturday.

Meanwhile, the information office of the defence ministry said that navy frigate Xuzhou, which had been on escort mission in the Gulf of Aden, is en route to Libya to provide support to ships evacuating Chinese nationals.

Gaddafi insisted that Libya’s uprising was instigated by Al Qaeda terrorist agents and Islamic fundamentalists and vowed to kill opponents of the regime. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon Friday estimated the number of deaths at 1,000.

Peaceful anti-government protesters in Tripoli came under fire Friday as Gaddafi surfaced in the capital, urging supporters to kill those against him.

The violence has caused growing numbers of refugees and displaced people. Ban said that 22,000 people had fled to Tunisia and 15,000 to Egypt. Governments have also ordered their citizens out of Libya and dispatched planes and ships to help them evacuate.

Gaddafi remained defiant even as the international community prepared tougher measures against his regime with the US enacting unilateral sanctions and the UN preparing to discuss its own measures Saturday.

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