Jueves, 21 Setiembre, 2017

Death toll from Libya airbase attack rises to 140, defense chief suspended

A member of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army fires a machine gun in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi A member of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army fires a machine gun in the eastern coastal city of Benghazi
Eleena Tovar | 20 May, 2017, 11:13

The Third Force of the Government of National Accord, the internationally recognized government of Libya, said it attacked and captured the Brak Shati airbase in southern Libya.

The Brigade 12 is notoriously connected with the Libyan national army led by general Khalifa Haftar and the base was under the attack of a brigade from Misrata, a city backing the national unity government of Fayez Al Sarraj. "They were unarmed. majority died", - said al-Mesmari. Some media reports had said that the LNA members killed in the attack were unarmed, but Mohamed Gliwan, a spokesman for the Third Force, told local TV that the LNA soldiers were armed at the time of the attack.

Some LNA men had been killed and wounded but it was not clear how many, said spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari.

The GNA said late on Friday that a commission of inquiry had been set up to investigate the attack.

It said it had made a decision to suspend its defence minister, al-Mahdi al-Barghati, and the head of the Third Force from their duties until those responsible were identified.

Martin Kobler expressed his outrage over the attack in a statement released Friday.

Earlier this month Haftar broke a long deadlock by meeting the head of the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli, and both agreed to try to calm the situation in the south.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but figures associated with the LNA have previously been targeted by its rivals in similar attacks.

Also on Friday, a vehicle bomb south of Benghazi killed a prominent tribal leader linked to the LNA along with five other people.

The LNA has been fighting a three-year campaign against Islamist militants and other opponents in Benghazi and other parts of eastern Libya.

Human Rights Watch cited a medical official, an eyewitness, and photo and video footage to say that attacking forces had killed "scores of LNA fighters, some with bullets to the head, in apparent acts of summary execution". The country is plagued with unrest and political division.