Sunday, 22 September, 2019

Killed, 70 Injured In Strike On Libya Migrant Centre

Check Point Check Point
Patty Aguilar | 03 July, 2019, 14:27

An airstrike late on Tuesday hit a detention center for mainly African migrants in the Tajoura suburb of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, killing at least 40 people and wounding 80, a health official said.

Bodies were strewn on the floor of the hangar, mixed with the belongings and blood-soaked clothes of migrants, an AFP photographer said.

The LNA, commanded by Khalifa Haftar, had announced Monday that it will be launching the strikes after "traditional means" of war had been exhausted to "liberate" Tripoli from the clutches of militias that are affiliated with Fayez al-Sarraj's Government of National Accord.

Air attacks have targeted several ambulances and health facilities.

It is the highest publicly reported toll of an airstrike or shelling since eastern forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive three months ago with ground troops and aircraft to take the capital held by the internationally recognised government.

A representative of Tripoli's medical service confirmed Wednesday that the airstrike near the Libyan capital had really left at least 40 people dead.

"UNHCR is extremely concerned about news of air strikes targeting Tajoura detention centre east of Tripoli, and accounts of refugees and migrants deceased", it tweeted.

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"They must NOT be detained; civilians must NOT be a target; Libya is NOT a safe place of return". There is also concern that the conflict could disrupt oil supplies and force more migrants to take the perilous journey in hope of reaching Europe.

Rights groups say migrants face horrifying abuses in the North African country, which remains prey to a multitude of militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.

Haftar's forces have pledged to intensify air strikes against their GNA rivals after losing a key town to unity government forces.

Despite chronic instability, Libya remains an important transit point for migrants fleeing conflict and instability in other parts of Africa and the Middle East.

The conflict - the worst the capital has experienced since 2011 - has also become a proxy war fueled by countries breaking a United Nations arms embargo and sending sophisticated weaponry to both sides.

Thousands of migrants are held in government-run detention centres in western Libya in what the United Nations says are often inhuman conditions.

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