Friday, May 14, 2021

Ten more bodies found in mass grave in Libya | Middle East News

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Mass graves have been discovered in Tarhuna, a town 80 km southeast of Tripoli once controlled by a militia.

Forensic teams in war-torn Libya have found 10 more bodies in mass graves in a town once controlled by militia outside the capital Tripoli, the government of National Accord said.

“Three bodies were blindfolded and their wrists tied,” GNA’s interior ministry said in a Facebook post on Thursday about the latest gruesome find in Tarhuna, 80 km southeast of Tripoli.

The United Nations expressed “horror” when mass graves were first discovered last June.

Since then, more than 120 bodies have been exhumed there, including women and children, following the latest findings.

The discovery last June came a day after forces loyal to renegade eastern Libya commander Khalifa Haftar pulled out of the city.

Haftar had used Tarhuna as the main starting point for an unsuccessful attempt to capture the capital in a military offensive launched in April 2019.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said more than 300 people had been kidnapped or missing in the past in Tarhuna, which is now under GNA control again.

A drone photo shows mass grave excavations in Tarhuna, Libya in June 2020 after the province was liberated from militia loyal to Haftar [File: Hazem Turkia/Anadolu]

Residents reported that the local Al-Kani militia “often kidnapped, detained, tortured, killed and disappeared people,” the human rights official said.

Libya has been plagued by violence since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The conflict has pitted the UN-recognized and Turkish-backed GNA against the administration based east of Haftar, backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.

A ceasefire was signed in October and rival camps have since agreed to a UN-sponsored political dialogue, with presidential and legislative elections slated for later this year.



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