A COUPLE have spoken of their joy after building a life together in war-torn Libya.
Laura Cockett, from Cleveleys, moved to the country in July with her husband Nabhi Htiwesh – and the young couple have not looked back since.
The pair married in 2011, but Mr Htiwesh’s return to his native country was delayed amid fears about his 24-year-old’s wife safety.
But they took the plunge and emigrated to Tripoli eight months ago and have begun a new life together in the heart of the city.
Mrs Cockett, who is now working as an English teacher, said: “We packed all our things and officially emigrated at the beginning of July 2012.
“We decided to go then because we had been told by my in-laws it had pretty much calmed down and the companies were all re-opening.
“It’s so different but not in a bad way, there are so many good things about the country which nobody gets to see, everyone thinks it is a troubled place but it’s not like that at all, it’s really amazing.”
The couple met when they were both studying at Leeds University, and married in England after Mr Htiwesh – who now works as a commercial support executive for British Airways – fled Libya on a tourist visa.
He made the dangerous journey during the conflict, when his brother had already been arrested and detained by Colonel Gaddafi’s troops.
But Mr Htiwesh, 31, who was reunited with his brother when he returned to Tripoli, said the country is far safer.
He said: “It was good to go back, my family had all missed us and were excited.
“It’s safe there now. The Government want the rebels to join the army and police and that is the process we are going through now which is challenging, but normal day-to-day-life is safe. I’m glad we went back.”
Prime Minister David Cameron made a landmark visit to the city last month, and Mrs Crockett caught a glimpse of his car on the street.
And there’s been another taste of home since she moved to Libya – a Blackpool pizza shop.
Mrs Crockett added: “I saw this place called Blackpool Pizzas and the guy in there was Libyan but he had lived in Layton for 20 years.
“I was so shocked.
“He had a Blackpool scarf up as well and that really made me laugh.”