Daesh corpses in Libya await fate in stor­age con­tain­ers

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - REGION -

MISRATA, Libya: Hun­dreds of corpses of Daesh (ISIS) fighters have lain stored for the past year in a row of re­frig­er­ated con­tain­ers in the Libyan city of Misrata await­ing a fi­nal de­ci­sion on their fate.

“The tem­per­a­ture must be kept at be­tween -18 and -20 Cel­sius for the bod­ies to re­main con­served,” said Ali Tuwaileb at a high se­cu­rity anti-or­ga­nized crime com­plex in the city.

Around 700 bod­ies have been housed at the im­pro­vised morgue ever since Daesh mil­i­tants were ex­pelled in Dec. 2016 from the coastal city of Sirte that had been their bas­tion in Libya.

Two old stretch­ers un­der an im­pro­vised tent, set up in front of the con­tain­ers, serve as a lab­o­ra­tory for a foren­sic doc­tor.

“As you can see, we don’t have the means. This is where we took sam­ples for DNA tests and where we pho­tographed the corpses,” said Tuwaileb, who heads the fa­cil­ity.

Due to the lack of re­sources, sev­eral hun­dred other Daesh corpses have been aban­doned un­der the rub­ble in Sirte or in makeshift ceme­ter­ies dug by the mil­i­tants.

Around 700 bod­ies have been housed at the im­pro­vised morgue

In the wake of the bat­tle dur­ing which U.S.-led coali­tion airstrikes backed Libyan se­cu­rity forces, de­cay­ing bod­ies on the streets of Sirte gave rise to fears of epi­demic.

In a com­ment af­ter an Au­gust visit that drew strong crit­i­cism, Bri­tish For­eign Sec­re­tary Boris John­son said the coun­try could one day be­come a mag­net for tourists and in­vestors once it can “clear the dead bod­ies away.”

Ac­cord­ing to Tuwaileb’s es­ti­mate, be­tween 1,500 and 2,000 mil­i­tants were buried in the Mediter­ranean city.

“We don’t have enough fridges, or we would have ex­humed all the bod­ies,” said the Libyan of­fi­cial, who pointed out that the con­tain­ers were loaned by pri­vate com­pa­nies.

Out of the seven re­frig­er­ated con­tain­ers in Misrata, three have bro­ken down.

Tuwaileb said all the files have been trans­ferred to the pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral’s of­fice in Tripoli. Based on doc­u­ments found, most the dead mil­i­tants came from Tu­nisia, Egypt and Su­dan, with some from Libya, but no fam­i­lies have come to Misrata to claim them. –

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