Swedes evacuated to Malta from Libya

Swedes evacuated to Malta from Libya
A British warship arrives in Malta. Swedes arrived on another British ship
A number of Swedes were successfully evacuated from Libya on Thursday after a Swedish plane was able to land in Tripoli following days of delays.

On Thursday night, eight Swedish citizens arrived by plane from Tripoli and earlier in the day a family arrived by boat from Benghazi.

A Swedish Hercules C-130 which had been stationed on Malta for several days was finally able to land in Tripoli on Thursday evening to assist in the evacuation of foreign nationals.

When the Swedish plane departed Tripoli, it was carrying six Swedes, as well as four Romanians and one Canadian national.

“There were very few EU citizens at the airport. We made several rounds at the airport, but we couldn’t find any more,” embassy counselor Håkan Hjort told the TT news agency.

Earlier on Thursday evening, two children with Swedish citizenship as well as their father arrived on Malta via a Canadian airplane.

During the day, a Swedish family had also made its way to Malta from Benghazi onboard a British ship, the HMS York.

Also onboard the British ship was Anders Nordmark, a medical coordinator with the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap – MSB).

“We were lying at the pier for a few hours. I had gone through all the medicine and ensured that it was given to the right people,” he told TT.

Around 1.3 tonnes of medicine and hospital equipment was left in Benghazi.

A Swedish woman, her Libyan husband, and their two small children then boarded the HMS York for its return voyage to Malta.

The woman, Malin Westerberg, told the Expressen newspaper of the relief she felt over finally being able to leave Libya.

“There was a lot of unrest, protests, and insecurity. I’ve been really scared. When we heard shots, we just wanted to get out of there,” she told the newspaper.

According to the foreign ministry, 36 Swedish citizens remain in Libya, most of who want to stay. One of them is Laila Säfström, who is looking for her 5-year-old daughter in Libya.

Her daughter traveled to Libya in 2008 with her father, and has since disappeared. Säfström said she receives a call from the foreign ministry every day.

“They provide me with information and it’s comforting to know they’re thinking of me, but I need to make the decision myself,” she said.

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