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Hundred Bulgarians Stranded in Libya's Remote Desert Camps

Date: 24.02.2011

European governments are facing criticism for failing to assist the many oil workers who are stuck at camps deep in the Libyan desert

While thousands of foreigners are trying to flee Libya through ports, airports and overland, about one hundred Bulgarian oil workers are in a perilous and frightening situation in remote desert camps.

"There are more than one hundred Bulgarian nationals in the Libyan desert, who are blocked there as they can't reach Tripoli or contact the Bulgarian Embassy in the Jamahiriy," Rossen Rusanov, a Bulgarian national, who works at a camp of the major Austrian company VAOS, told Darik radio via Skype.

"The shootings and explosions started two days ago. I have no words to explain the horror we felt. The camp was surrounded by the so-called yellow caps, African mercenaries, who have been hired by Muammar Gaddafi to quell his country's civilian uprising. They were firing at everything that moves. We are afraid even to open the door of our bungalow," Russanov explained.

According to him all the trucks and cars in the camp have got stolen over the last few days and the people working there can not move onto the capital.

A Filipino and a Vietnamese have been shot to death by the mercenaries in the neighboring camp "just because they dared go out of their bungalows," the Bulgarian said.

Russanov forecast that Libya's pro-government forces are bracing for an even bloodier revenge, which will bring about a bloodbath across the whole country.

"The violence will reach us too. Now we are just in the calm that precedes the storm," he said, adding that his attempts to contact the Bulgarian Embassy have been all in vain for several days already.

Security forces have killed hundreds of protesters across the vast, thinly populated nation stretching from the Mediterranean deep into the Sahara desert, rights groups and witnesses said.

The British government is also facing criticism for failing to assist the many oil workers who are stuck at camps deep in the Libyan desert.

BBC told the story of British oil worker Bryan Richards was evacuated from the desert to Warsaw on what he was told was the Polish presidential plane.

He described Tripoli airport as "mayhem. No sanitation. Nothing to eat. People have been there for days".

"We've come in on Tuesday from the desert. And we walked in to the terminal and couldn't believe what we could see. We couldn't see the end of the terminal for people," Bryan Richards told BBC.


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