PUTRAJAYA: Eleven Malaysians have been evacuated from Tripoli while the Malaysian Embassy has been temporarily closed as the security situation in Libya worsens due to fierce fighting between rival militias.
Those evacuated comprised eight students, two embassy officials and a businessman.
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman said they were taken to Tunis via Misurata Airport on Sunday.
"They will be flown back to Malaysia and are expected to arrive at the KL International Airport soon," he said yesterday.
"With the evacuation, the Malaysian Embassy in Tripoli is now temporarily closed."
Anifah added that there were still 17 Malaysians in Libya, 15 of whom were private sector employees and two students.
He said the working Malaysians had been advised to evacuate as soon as possible.
"Their respective employers are looking after their safety and well-being.
"The two students have been moved to a safer place called Zawiyah, located approximately 30km from Tripoli.
"They are being looked after by their college," he said.
Wisma Putra officials handling the evacuation process said the working Malaysians had apparently refused to be evacuated on the grounds that they had been in Libya for a long time and knew the country very well.
"They said they believe the companies they work for will take care of them and if the need arises, then they will leave," added the official.
Anifah said the Malaysian Embassy in Algeria had been designated to look after Malaysia's interest in Libya.