April 28, 2019 / 11:09 AM / 6 months ago

Pope appeals for evacuation of refugees in Libya camps

FILE PHOTO: Pope Francis waves after his weekly general audience at the Vatican, April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Yara Nardi/File Photo

MILAN (Reuters) - Pope Francis called on Sunday for the evacuation of refugees held in detention camps in Libya as fighting there escalates.

Speaking at the Sunday Angelus prayer at the Vatican, Francis said the already grave conditions of those in the camps had worsened due to the conflict under way.

“I make an appeal that especially the women, children and sick can be evacuated as soon as possible through humanitarian corridors,” he said.

Last week the United Nations refugee agency evacuated 325 African refugees from a detention center in southern Tripoli following escalating violence.

On Saturday air strikes hit the Libyan capital as eastern forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar pursued a three-week campaign to take Tripoli.

Pope Francis also called for prayers for those who had died or suffered serious damage in the recent floods in South Africa.

Reporting by Stephen Jewkes; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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