Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Libyan citizens going through nightmare as Embassy remains closed

Following the closure of the Libyan Embassy in Gaborone over a month ago, hundreds of Libyan citizens have been left stranded as they cannot process their travel, residence and work documents.

Since the closure of the embassy Libyan citizens have had to travel to South Africa to get assistance from Pretoria.

The problems are not confined to Libyan citizens only.

Non Libyans have also had to travel to South Africa to apply for visas.

Batswana employees employed at the embassy are also concerned since they have not been updated on their employment status.

Botswana’s minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, confirmed to The Telegraph this week that the Embassy still remains closed.

“It is true that the embassy remains closed. We are not yet sure when it will be re-opened”.

She indicated that high ranking government officials are expected to jet into Botswana in due course to try and address the obstacles prevailing at the embassy.

“Communication between the two governments is ongoing. I expect the Libyan officials to arrive here this week.” 

The minister stated that Botswana remains optimistic that the Libyans will resolve their differences amicably. The minister also said that due to the temporary closure of the embassy an arrangement has been made with the South African embassy, which is fully functional, to assist those who need assistance.

Meanwhile some Libyan nationals who spoke on condition of anonymity said, it was very unfortunate “that we happen to find ourselves in such an embarrassing position.” They claimed that it is too expensive for them to travel to South Africa to seek assistance at the embassy.

“What hurts most is the fact that even in South Africa; we are not being told when the Gaborone Embassy will be re-opened.”

The worried Libyan nationals also said there are among them who lost their passports forcing them to stay illegally in Botswana.

The closure of the Gaborone embassy started sometime last month when three staff members believed to be security agents held the ambassador hostage for more than two hours. Botswana government officials intervened and members of the Special Support Group (SSG) are now providing round the clock security at the embassy.

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