Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 August 2019

Libya: 40 injured soldiers 'massacred' by pro-government militias, say LNA

Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's LNA say that documents reveal that soldiers were stabbed or shot in the head at a hospital where they were being treated

Injured soldiers of the eastern forces led by Field Marshal Haftar lie on beds at the Gharyan hospital, Libya. Reuters
Injured soldiers of the eastern forces led by Field Marshal Haftar lie on beds at the Gharyan hospital, Libya. Reuters

Fighters loyal to Libya's United Nations-backed Government of National Accord have “massacred” 40 of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar's injured soldiers, according to forensic reports.

The injured soldiers were being treated in a hospital in the strategic town of Gharyan, situated about 80 kilometres south of the capital Tripoli.

The town was recently recaptured by the GNA, and was previously a key supply route for Field Marshal Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA) and its push towards Tripoli.

The documents, according to LNA officials, show that their soldiers were brutally killed.

“Yes, the documents are real. Unfortunately, Gharyan hospital, where wounded members of the LNA were being treated, was broken into by terrorist militias,” said their spokesperson, Ahmed Mismari.

Death certificates for the soldiers said that some were stabbed, while others were shot dead in the head, after members of the GNA stormed the hospital this week.

Forensic reports identified some of the soldiers: Omar Al Salihin Omar and Ahmed Al Hadi Nasr were shot dead in the head; Saleh Saeed Khalifa died of severe chest, arm and face wounds.

But Yousef Bediri, governor of Gharyan, who is loyal to the Tripoli government, denied the claims.

He called on rights groups to investigate, saying the troops were killed in battle.

In April the LNA launched an offensive on Tripoli, vowing to cleanse the capital of the powerful militias that prop up the GNA.

That set off another deadly battle in a country mired by violence since the fall of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.

The LNA already controls much of Libya's east and south. Field Marshal Haftar, who in recent years has battled extremists and other militias across eastern Libya, says he is determined to restore stability to the country.

Despite a UN-led peace process aimed at ending the conflict, GNA chief Fayez Al Serraj has said he will not sit down with Field Marshal Haftar following the LNA attack.

The two officials have only met six times in the past few years.

The last meeting was in February in Abu Dhabi as foreign powers sought to broker a power-sharing deal between the rival eastern and western administrations.

There are fears that the war will not only threaten to disrupt oil supplies, but will increase migration across the Mediterranean to Europe and encourage extremists to exploit the chaos.

Updated: July 2, 2019 06:49 PM

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