The International Organization for Migration says it has begun evacuating more than 1,200 African migrants from the Libyan town of Sabha, one of former leader Moammar Gadhafi's longtime strongholds.
The IOM said in a statement Monday the migrants left on a convoy of 15 trucks that is expected take about a week to reach the border of Chad and Niger. From there, they will travel to the northern Chadian city of Faya Largeau before being taken to their final destination inside Chad or elsewhere in Africa.
About half of the migrants are from Chad, with the rest from 10 other African nations.
The IOM said fighting had prevented them from getting aid into the town, which provisional authority forces gained control of late last month.
Meanwhile, Mr. Gadhafi's son, Saadi, has denied allegations detailed by Interpol last week that he engaged in “armed intimidation” when he headed Libya's football federation.
He said Sunday he “strenuously” denies the charges, along with allegations that he misappropriated property.
Interpol issued an international alert last week to help find and arrest Saadi Gadhafi, saying it was acting at the request of Libya's National Transitional Council.
Saadi Gadhafi, who fled to neighboring Niger, called the Interpol action a political decision to recognize the NTC without the presence of a functioning government in Libya.
Also Sunday, hundreds of residents fled the besieged city of Sirte, where Gadhafi loyalists have battled NTC forces surrounding the city for weeks.
Residents said gunfire, shelling and airstrikes in Sirte have made life intolerable. They said some wounded people died on the operating table of the Ibn Sina Hospital because of power cuts triggered by a lack of fuel for generators. Medics said oxygen and medicines also were running low.
Aid workers from the International Committee of the Red Cross reached the hospital on Saturday, delivering some supplies including dressing kits, body bags and 400 liters of fuel. It was not clear when they would return with more supplies.
NATO continued its campaign of airstrikes Sunday, hitting multiple targets in Sirte including a rocket launcher and an armed vehicle.
Sirte is the birthplace of Mr. Gadhafi. It is one of only two towns where Gadhafi loyalists have been resisting NTC forces that ousted him from power in the capital, Tripoli, in August.