Gwent woman makes tearful Libya crisis plea to Nato leaders

VERY WORRIED 'Mitzi' is fraught over her husband and children being stuck in Libya (9508367)

VERY WORRIED 'Mitzi' is fraught over her husband and children being stuck in Libya (9508287)

VERY WORRIED 'Mitzi' is fraught over her husband and children being stuck in Libya (9508347)

ABANDONED: An equestrian centre on the road to Tripoli airport has been abandoned and its horses shot at (Photo supplied by Mitzi)

UP IN SMOKE: Oil fires loom over Tripoli causing air pollution (Photo supplied by Mitzi)

UP IN SMOKE: Oil fires loom over Tripoli causing air pollution (Photo supplied by Mitzi)

UP IN SMOKE: Oil fires loom over Tripoli causing air pollution (Photo supplied by Mitzi)

First published in News by

A GWENT woman whose husband and son are trapped in conflict-torn Libya has made an emotional plea to world leaders coming to Newport's Nato Summit to put the Libyan humanitarian crisis at the top of their agenda.

Violence and bloodshed on a scale not seen since the 2011 revolution has erupted in the north African country, with rebels who once worked together to topple Muammar Gaddafi now turning on each other in a bid for control of land.

The Argus was told that due to power and fuel shortages, Libyan hospital patients are undergoing major surgery in total darkness, driving miles to find essentials like baby food, and parts of Tripoli are being bombarded by rocket attacks, with some rockets or "grads" missing their presumed targets by up to 20 miles.

Millions of people - including British nationals born in Gwent - are now trapped in the country as neighbouring borders close and airports are either attacked, as happened in Tripoli, or are not safe to fly from.

The woman, who was so afraid for the safety of her relatives in Libya that she asked to be known only as Mitzi, said her Libyan-born husband, 52, Monmouthshire-born son, 27, and Welsh daughter-in-law, 23, all became trapped in the country when violence flared up during Ramadan, when people tend to stay indoors while fasting and avoid the summer heat of more than 40 degrees C.

"When I speak to them I've heard bombs dropping in the background and then the signal cuts out," said Mitzi, who lives in Ebbw Vale and married her husband in 1984.

"Imagine how that makes you feel. They tell you the walls are shaking and then the signal goes. It's as much as I can do to keep it together. People are taking their lives in their hands just to get a loaf of bread.

"Where is the UN?" she said. "There are people out there who should matter to people in this country. There are kids that wake up screaming in the night, they screamed during 2011 and now they're screaming again."

Now the mum-of-four is calling on Nato leaders to put the renewed Libyan crisis at the top of their agenda for September's summit, alongside the likes of Gaza and Syria.

Relatives in Tripoli have told Mitzi that queues for fuel are more than two-and-a-half miles in length, power cuts lasting up to 12 hours happen regularly, and 100 million litres of crude oil was set on fire next to the road to Tripoli airport and has been burning for days.

Stories and photographs are emerging of a man being publicly executed by extremists in a sports stadium in Benghazi, and a group of people praying in Martyrs' Square in Tripoli shot at.

The newly formed government has fled to Tobruk close to the border with Egypt in the east, away from fighting in Tripoli and Benghazi.

Worse, the number of religious extremists is growing, warned Mitzi.

"The real hardcore are spreading. It's unimaginable the danger they could bring to every secular state in the world and we are just standing back."

A message from Mitzi's son sent this week said: "It's democracy versus dictatorship all over again, but this time it's not Gaddafi, it's not his remnants. It's a new entity that has fed on fear, control and wealth and does not want to let go of any of it."

Libya's acting prime minister has already met US President Obama and Senator John Kerry to request strategic air strikes, said Mitzi, and although Libya's air force carried out air strikes on rebel targets earlier this week, their planes have not been seen for several days, leaving some in Tripoli fearful that militia could be moving in on the capital in a kind of pincer movement.

"What was different in 2011 to now?" asked Mitzi. "This is no doubt a humanitarian crisis."

Comments (2)

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8:04am Fri 22 Aug 14

Katie Re-Registered says...

In the midst of point-scoring political types squabbling, banqueting, golfing, waving flags, plastering themselves with badges and changing the world virtually from the comfort of their box rooms via t' interweb, here we find a poignant reminder of the very real human cost of the terrifying and tragic events that are directly impacting both upon those people who live within these war zones and their loved ones wherever they may be in the world.
In the midst of point-scoring political types squabbling, banqueting, golfing, waving flags, plastering themselves with badges and changing the world virtually from the comfort of their box rooms via t' interweb, here we find a poignant reminder of the very real human cost of the terrifying and tragic events that are directly impacting both upon those people who live within these war zones and their loved ones wherever they may be in the world. Katie Re-Registered
  • Score: 9

1:25pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Lord Palmerstone says...

This is really very sad and realistically this is going to be more the norm than the exception in those parts of Africa where Mohammedanism exerts its vice-like grip. But rather than take a pop Katie you might have exhorted the poor lady to direct her plea to the Egyptian government, Egypt being the only country in the region strong enough o restore order.
The UN exists only to employ officials and NATO is, as the name suggests, an organisation whose function is principally protection of areas other than Mohammedan Africa.
This is really very sad and realistically this is going to be more the norm than the exception in those parts of Africa where Mohammedanism exerts its vice-like grip. But rather than take a pop Katie you might have exhorted the poor lady to direct her plea to the Egyptian government, Egypt being the only country in the region strong enough o restore order. The UN exists only to employ officials and NATO is, as the name suggests, an organisation whose function is principally protection of areas other than Mohammedan Africa. Lord Palmerstone
  • Score: 4

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