September 10, 2019 / 1:45 PM / 9 days ago

African refugees held in Libya to be evacuated to Rwanda - UN

Migrants are seen after being rescued by Libyan coast guard in Khoms, Libya August 27, 2019. REUTERS/Ayman Sahely

GENEVA (Reuters) - African refugees being held in squalid conditions in detention in Libya will be evacuated to Rwanda under an agreement reached with Kigali and the African Union, the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday.

A first group of 500 refugees from the Horn of Africa will be evacuated in coming weeks out of 4,700 now estimated to be in custody in Libya, under a new transit mechanism, UNHCR spokesman Babar Baloch said.

“It is a lifeline,” Baloch told a Geneva briefing.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Peter Graff

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