European Commission President, Jose Manuel Barroso
The European Union (EU) has opened an office for the coordination of humanitarian aid in Tripoli, an EU spokesman said on Monday.
The spokesman said the priority of the EU in Libya was to help rehabilitate those wounded from the war between rebel fighters and loyalists of Muammar Gaddafi.
It is also expected to protect the civilian population, in particular nationals of sub-Saharan African nations who have been subjected to attacks by the rebels.
According to NGOs operating in the field, sub-Saharan citizens and their families have gone into hiding to prevent arrest, torture and killings by the rebels.
The rebels are targeting them on the suspicion that they are mercenaries supporting Gaddafi, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
According to the Human Rights Watch, hundreds of Nigerians, Malians, Ghanaians and other Africans have sought refuge in a makeshift camp in the port of Sayad, 25 km west of Tripoli.
The New York based rights group said none of the black Africans could leave the camp for fear they could be killed by the rebels.
Prior to the establishment of the office in Tripoli, the EU had no representation in Libya, apart from a liaison office which was opened in Benghazi recently to help establish contact with the National Transitional Council (NTC).
The NTC is recognized by the EU as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
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