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UN evacuates refugees from fighting over Libyan capital

GENEVA (AP) — The U.N. refugee agency says it has evacuated 163 people from Libya to Niger, the first such flight since fighting in the capital Tripoli escalated two weeks ago. The clashes between rival factions for control of Libya's capital have threatened to ignite a civil war on the scale of the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The Geneva-based agency said in a statement Friday that the refugees from various African nations included dozens of women and children. Libyan authorities had previously detained them stopping their passage to Europe.

The agency's head, Filippo Grandi, said that "given the situation in Libya, humanitarian evacuations are a lifeline for detained refugees whose lives are in jeopardy." The agency says over 3,000 migrants remain trapped in detention near the fighting.

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