x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Keep out of Libya, Emirati hunters warned

The UAE government warns its citizens to avoid travelling to Libya to hunt due to the security risks there.

DUBAI // Emiratis have been urged by the foreign ministry not to travel to Libya for hunting trips because of the country's unstable security situation.

The warning has been issued as part of the government's keenness to guarantee the safety of its citizens, according to Issa Abdullah Al Kalbani, the director of the Department of Citizens Affairs at the Foreign Ministry.

Local tour guides confirm Emiratis and other GCC residents have travelled to the North African state to hunt in the aftermath of the revolution.

According to Ibrahim Al Ousta from Libyan tour operators Sherwes Travel desert tours have been banned by the government since the Libyan revolution started.

"No security clearances are provided for tourists to go on trips to the Libyan Desert for hunting or any other activity," said Mr Al Ousta.

"The security situation has been unstable there."

Libyans, however, can easily access these areas and go on hunting trips, he added.

"Many Emirati, Kuwaiti and especially Qatari tourists fly out for hunting trips that are arranged unofficially," he said.

"The situation is not good because of armed gangs and the problems in Northern Mali.

"That area is an open desert between Libya, Mali, Niger and Algeria."

Despite warnings about the desert areas, Mr Al Ousta said he believed the coast was safe.  Libya's coastline extends 1,770km from Tunisia to Egypt.

"From Jumayl to Musaid that coastline area is totally accessible and tourists are advised to go there for fishing instead," he said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, has stressed the importance of registering the intention to travel abroad at the ministry's online "Tawajudi" service.

amustafa@thenational.ae