Pinoys in Libya cautioned from using Mitiga Airport
MANILA-- Filipinos planning to travel abroad or to other parts of Libya are advised to be vigilant in the wake of the frequent shelling of Mitiga International Airport, the sole functioning airport in Tripoli.
“The incidents of shelling during the past several days have not only resulted in the suspension of flight operations but have also endangered the lives of hundreds of civilians using the only functioning airport in Tripoli for inbound and outbound travel,” the Philippine embassy in Libya said in a statement on Friday.
“Filipinos flying to and from Mitiga are advised to take these factors into consideration when making their travel plans,” it added.
While the more than 1,000 Filipinos in Tripoli are still covered by restrictions under Alert Level IV, Chargé dAffaires Elmer Cato said many of them still travel abroad for their vacations.
“Some of those exempted from the Level IV restrictions also use the airport as a transit point to other places in Libya where they work,” he told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The Alert Level IV, which is still in place in Tripoli, prohibits Filipinos who have gone back to Manila from returning to Libya. Repatriation efforts Meanwhile, Cato said the repatriation efforts of the embassy is still ongoing, with 12 applications being processed at present.
The embassy had been using Mitiga to repatriate Filipinos from Tripoli and is also used by members of the augmentation teams from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
With the current state of the Mitiga International Airport, the envoy said the embassy will most likely evacuate future repatriates first to Tunis by land.
The ongoing conflict in Libya began when units loyal to the Libyan National Army advanced toward Tripoli to capture the capital from forces aligned with the United Nations-backed Government of National Accord in April.
Almost five months since the fighting started, random shelling in the country has hogged local headlines.
Early August, reports said a Libyan passenger plane, carrying 124 people from Benghazi, narrowly escaped an incoming airstrike as it landed in Mitiga. (PNA)