36 bul­let-rid­dled bod­ies found in Libya

UN seeks probe as of­fi­cial says bod­ies were of sus­pected mil­i­tants, in­clud­ing 19 for­eign­ers

Gulf News - - MIddle East -

The bod­ies of 36 peo­ple shot dead have been found near Beng­hazi, in eastern Libya, a se­cu­rity of­fi­cial said Sun­day.

The bod­ies, found in Al Ab­yar, around 70km east of Beng­hazi, were of sus­pected mil­i­tants in­clud­ing 19 for­eign­ers, the of­fi­cial said.

The United Na­tions mis­sion in Libya said it “con­demns in the strong­est terms the heinous crime re­sult­ing in the killing of at least 36” peo­ple.

It called for an im­me­di­ate in­ves­ti­ga­tion to bring the per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice.

Con­tro­ver­sial strongman Khal­ifa Haf­tar, whose self-pro­claimed Libyan Na­tional Army con­trols the re­gion, or­dered an in­quiry to find their killers, the pro-Haf­tar LANA news agency re­ported.

In Tripoli, a na­tional unity gov­ern­ment op­posed to an eastern ad­min­is­tra­tion backed by Haf­tar called the killings a “heinous crime and a hor­ri­ble act,” and said it would also launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Ex­e­cu­tions

Fight­ers in Haf­tar’s LNA, which has bat­tled mil­i­tant groups since 2014, have in the past been ac­cused of in­volve­ment in sum­mary ex­e­cu­tions of de­tained mil­i­tants.

LANA said Haf­tar’s probe would seek to un­cover whether those killed were de­tained at the time.

In Au­gust, the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court is­sued called for the ar­rest of a se­nior com­man­der in an elite force fight­ing along­side Haf­tar’s LNA.

The of­fi­cer, Mahmoud Mustafa Abu Saif Al Wer­falli, is ac­cused of war crimes over at least seven in­ci­dents in 2016 and 2017. Al Wer­falli’s bri­gade was in­volved in a three-year bat­tle to rid Beng­hazi of mil­i­tants.

ICC judges al­lege he per­son­ally shot or or­dered the ex­e­cu­tion of peo­ple who were either civil­ians or in­jured fight­ers.

They say he was be­hind 33 ex­e­cu­tion-style killings there.

Haf­tar’s forces said he was al­ready un­der ar­rest and would be tried by a mil­i­tary court.

Libya has been ripped apart by con­flicts be­tween mul­ti­ple mili­tias and two ri­val gov­ern­ments.

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