Kenya scrambles to get citizens out of Libya

February 24, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 24 – The government has sent a Kenya Airways plane to evacuate its nationals in Libya amid escalating violence as embattled leader Muammar Gaddafi employs mercenaries to prolong his 41-year-rule.

Acting Foreign Affairs Minister George Saitoti has told the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Foreign Relations that they hope to have evacuated all the 87 Kenyans working in Libya within two days.

“This issue of Libya is urgent that is why we have chartered a plane,” he said.

“One has to appreciate that there are no direct fights to Tripoli by Kenya Airways that’s why we have to make special arrangements.”

The Minister said that there are seven workers in the Kenyan Embassy in Tripoli and the “government was aware of where they are.”

“We have told the Embassy to keep in touch with all the Kenyans living in Libya,” added the Minister.

The Minister said that most of the Kenyans are working in the construction industry. He denied earlier reports that some Kenyans had been hired to work in the security forces.

Libya is the latest nation in the Arab world to be caught by the revolution uprising that has seen the governments of Tunisia and Egypt fall.

Prof Saitoti said that the government was closely monitoring the situation in Bahrain which is experiencing a high level of protests. He said there is a very high number of Kenyans working there and therefore the state was seriously monitoring it.

“There too as we see the situation unfold we will ensure that Kenyans are evacuated,” said Prof Saitoti.

The government earlier in the month evacuated Kenyans living in Egypt during the crisis. The Minister said the situation in Cairo was nomalising and the State was now considering other states facing uprising danger.

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