At least nine bodies found in another mass grave in Libya

Members of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA’s) missing persons bureau search for human remains in what Libya’s internationally recognized government officials say is a mass grave, in Tarhouna city, Libya June 23, 2020. Picture taken June 23, 2020. REUTERS/Ismail Zitouny

At least nine bodies were found in another mass grave discovered in the Libyan town of Tarhuna, pointing to a grimmer picture of the aftermath of the country’s civil war.

More than ten mass graves had already been uncovered in the town located to the southeast of the capital, Tripoli, following the withdrawal of fighters loyal to eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar.

Tarhuna served as Khalifa’s main staging point in his months-long quest to take over Tripoli from the Government of National Accord.

“Nine bodies were discovered and exhumed on Sunday… at a site suspected of containing mass graves, in the town of Tarhuna,” said a statement posted on Facebook by pro-GNA forces.

The latest discovery comes just days after the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said she will open investigations into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity after the revelations.

In their statement on Monday, the pro-GNA forces said authorities were still searching for other potential mass graves “left by the Al-Kani criminal gangs, a pro-Haftar militia”.

Libya has been dogged bya civil war for years, sparked by the killing of former long-serving president Muammar Gadaffi.

The war has killed thousands and displaced hundreds of thousands as each faction claims legitimacy.

During a recent Security Council meeting on Libya, Stephanie Williams, the head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), briefed that Libyans had to deal with almost constant bombardment, and frequent water and electricity outages during the holy month of Ramadan.

On his part, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this month called for a “thorough and transparent investigation”, and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice. In particular, he called on the authorities to “secure the mass graves, identify the victims, establish causes of death and return the bodies to next of kin”, and assured Libya that the United Nations has offered support in this regard.

Leave a Reply