Displaced Libyans afraid to return home

May 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM
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TUNIS, Tunisia, May 16 (UPI) -- Many Libyans who fled the country during the civil war are afraid to return home because of lingering security challenges, authorities said.

A source in the Libyan Ministry of Social Affairs told the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN on condition of anonymity that around 500,000 Libyan nations fled to Tunisia.

Many of the people displaced by conflict, particularly those who supported former leader Moammar Gadhafi, are afraid to return.

Deputy head of the Libyan General National Congress Naema M. Elhammi, told IRIN from Tunisia that those Libyans she's met there are worried about revenge.

"The fact is that some Libyans do nothing but settle old scores with their compatriots," she said. "This makes everybody afraid."

Libyan lawmakers recently backed legislation that bars Gadhafi-era officials from political office. The measure followed the occupation of several ministerial buildings by militias upset over Gadhafi's lingering legacy in post-war Libya.

Executive director of the Libyan Foundation for Human Rights Salah al-Turki told IRIN there was a "persistent desire" for revenge in Libya, "even if these people who took sides with Gadhafi were not influential people or fighters themselves."

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