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Thousands of refugees still languish on Tunisian-Libyan border: report

(Xinhua)

10:02, September 15, 2011

TUNIS, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Choucha refugee camp, located some 7 km from the Tunisian-Libyan border post of Ras El Jedir, continues to host thousands of people from several countries, the official press agency TAP reported Wednesday.

Although most of the Libyan refugees have returned home, some 3, 700 people are still stranded in the country's last transit camp, waiting to be evacuated to other countries, the report said.

As the first transit camp set up shortly after the start of the turmoil in Libya, Choucha is currently the last transit camp in operation after refugees in the neighboring Emirati camp were transferred there.

In spite of the calls to international organizations for speeding up the pace of evacuation, the plight of the African refugees remains painfully visible as their temporary sojourn in Tunisia is slowly turning into a permanent one.

A few months ago, clashes erupted in the camp between local residents and African refugees, causing a number of casualties.

Although the situation has improved since then, a number of refugees feel they are the forgotten victims, as the pace of evacuation to the European countries remains desperately slow.

On Wednesday, a representative of the U.S. State Department visited the camp to evaluate life conditions there and the services offered in the camp, TAP said.

Nearly 800,000 refugees crossed into Tunisia in the months following the eruption of violence in Libya.


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