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17 Tanzanian students stranded in Tripoli

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Elimu (Education Forum)' started by EMT, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. EMT

    EMT JF-Expert Member

    Mar 2, 2011
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    By Edward Qorro
    The Citizen Reporter
    Dar es Salaam.

    As countries struggle to evacuate their citizens from Libya, some Tanzanians remaining in the besieged nation have appealed to the government to rescue them. Their distress call comes only a day after a group of nine Tanzanians arrived back home after being airlifted from Tripoli on a Kenya Airways flight.

    The remaining Tanzanians, including 17 students, were yesterday still stranded in Libya as ‘rebel’ forces plotted a raid in Tripoli, the capital in an attempt to topple long-ruling Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. They told The Citizen on phone yesterday that they missed Monday’s flight that brought their colleagues home because it landed in Tripoli.

    A lecturer at Sabha University, Dr Peter Mtesigwa, confirmed to this paper that there were still several Tanzanians working and studying in the city located in south-west Libya.

    He said they want to leave the country as soon as the government provided them with the means. “We are not sure of the extent of the ongoing chaos, we are ready to leave the country anytime, we ask the government to send a plane to get us out of here,” he said.

    According to Dr Mtesigwa, by yesterday there were six Tanzanian lecturers, as well as students still in Libya. He explained that the Kenya Airways flight which rescued some of their colleagues landed in Tripoli on Sunday, thus it was difficult for them to board it as they live very far from the capital city. “It is about 800 kilometres between here and Tripoli, that is the reason we missed the flight,” he said.

    But Mr Ali Said, a third-year student at the same University said their administration was blocking their departure. He told The Citizen that their administration had cautioned them against leaving the university premises, and threatened to deregister those who disobeyed.

    According to Mr Ali, 17 Tanzanian students were still at the university where classes resumed yesterday. But they were determined to flee, as Mr Ali noted: “We are contemplating on leaving this country should the government send us a plane, things have gotten out of control here.” Their safety concern comes amid international media reports that following the revolts, black Africans in Libya were being perceived as pro-Gaddafi mercenaries and targeted by the ‘rebel’s for retribution.

    Reacting to the appeal by the Tanzanians, the deputy minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr Mahadhi Mahadhi told The Citizen that the government was considering sending a plane to evacuate all Tanzanians who were still in Libya.

    “We are now coordinating with those on the ground, we might send them a plane but we are going to take only those who are ready to return home... we are not going to force anyone to return,” he said.

    The minister did not go into detail as to when they would send a plane to evacuate the stranded Tanzanians, but said the process was being complicated by the lack of a Tanzanian embassy in Libya.

    “Our embassy in Egypt has helped us a lot in bringing back the first batch, but if we had an embassy there, it would have been simple for us,” he added.

    However, he refuted claims that Kenya Airways flight had ferried the nine Tanzanians from Libya for free as reported by some media. He clarified that his office had footed all expenses related to bringing the Tanzanians back home.

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