Around 1,500 Vietnamese workers still trapped in Libya chaos

By Thu Hang, Thanh Nien News

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A Libyan woman fleeing the violence in her country enters Tunisia through the southern border crossing at Ras Jedir on July 30, 2014. Photo credit: AFP A Libyan woman fleeing the violence in her country enters Tunisia through the southern border crossing at Ras Jedir on July 30, 2014. Photo credit: AFP


More than a hundred Vietnamese workers had returned home after fleeing LIbya's spiraling violence by Wednesday morning.
The first 79 arrived in Hanoi on Tuesday night and another 34 the following day, just as a rebel alliance announced it had captured the main military base in Benghazi, the country's second-largest city after Tripoli.
Nguyen Duc Nam, deputy general director of the Hanoi-based labor export company, Sona, told Thanh Nien on Wednesday morning that the company plans to bring home at least 30 workers, every day, until August 2.
More than 200 Vietnamese workers lost their jobs after the chaos in Libya moved their Turkish employers to suspend work and bring their employees home.
Nam said the first 79 workers were given a place to stay and free meals at a center that belongs to the company.
Around 40 percent of the workers wish to continue working in neighboring Saudi Arabia, which placed an order for 800 laborers offering monthly salaries of US$600--much higher than the Libyan wage, he said.
“These people will be prioritized to go. More people will be sent there for free and the rest might only have to pay a $100 visa fee.”
Nam said that among the 300 laborers his company sent to Libya, 28 remain in the hotbeds of Tripoli and Benghazi, where clashes between Libyan Special Forces, Islamist militants, and rival militias have claimed at least 50 lives.
Ansar al-Sharia, a group Washington labelled "a terrorist organization," announced the capture of Benghazi's main military base, on Wednesday, after days of fighting left at least 35 soldiers dead, The Economist reported.
Libya’s former deputy premier Mustapha Abu Shagur, meanwhile was freed hours after being kidnapped from his home in Tripoli.
The 2011 uprising, which overthrew long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi and forced Vietnam's labor authorities to evacuate some 10,000 workers, has led to a chaotic rise of anti-government militias.
Nam said his company has contacted the employers demanding that they protect the lives and safety of their Vietnamese employees.
Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, head of the Overseas Labor Management Department at the labor ministry, said Vietnam's embassy estimated roughly 1,500 Vietnamese workers remain in Libya, including 280 near the unrest in Tripoli and Benghazi.
“They are all safe… They are getting enough food.
“We are surveying the situation at factories [employing Vietnamese] to provide other necessary safety measures.”
The US, Egypt, UAE, Qatar, and Turkey have closed their embassies in Tripoli and withdrawn their diplomatic staff.
Governments of the UK, Turkey, Spain and Thailand have urged their people to leave Libya as soon as they can.

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