Three thousand camels imported from Australia have been walked out of Libya's capital Tripoli after the port where they arrived came under artillery fire.
The camels left Tripoli's port shortly after midnight on Wednesday and were herded along a highway leading west to the city of Zawiya 45km away, according to a local merchant.
However, he said that a local armed group had stolen 125 of the camels as they passed through the Tripoli suburb of Janzour.
A Reuters reporter saw about 20 camel herds whipping the camels into line as they left central Tripoli, with some camels trying to search for food along the side of the road.
Security forces temporarily closed the road to let them pass.
The merchant said a fellow businessman from Zawiya bought the camels after hearing they were being sold off cheaply in Australia, where according to Australian media reports thousands of camels that had begun searching for scarce water in residential areas have been culled.
Tripoli's port was shelled on Tuesday by forces loyal to east Libya-based commander Khalifa Haftar, who has been waging an offensive to take Tripoli for more than 10 months.
Australian Associated Press