International

Libya : More Than 16,000 People Displaced

The information was made public on Sunday, June 7, 2020 by the United Nations mission in Libya (UNSMIL), as the civil war escalates.

Over 16,000 Libyans have been displaced during recent battles that saw forces of the UN recognized government wrest back control of western Libya from strongman Khalifa Haftar. The United Nations mission in Libya (UNSMIL), said in a statement that it was “alarmed by the harm inflicted on the civilian population by the continuing cycle of violence in Libya”. “The recent military movements in Greater Tripoli and Tarhuna have led to new waves of displacement and suffering of over 16,000 Libyans in the past few days,” it said. Backed by Turkey, the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli has in recent weeks retaken all remaining outposts of proHafter loyalists in western Libya. The town of Tarhuna, southeast of Tripoli, was the latest pro-Haftar stronghold to be captured by GNA forces.

General Haftar, whose stronghold is in the east of the country where a parliament is based, launched an offensive in April last year to capture Tripoli from the GNA. Hundreds have been killed and around 200,000 more driven from their homes in the offensive, not counting the 16,000 displaced in recent days. UNSMIL also flagged “reports of the discovery of a number of corpses at the hospital in Tarhuna”, which it described as “deeply disturbing”. It urged the GNA to carry out a “prompt and impartial investigation” into these deaths. UNSMIL also said it had received many reports of “the looting and destruction of public and private property” in Tarhuna and the town of Al-Assabaa, also south of Tripoli. In some cases, it said, vandalism appears to be “acts of retribution and revenge that risk further fraying Libya’s social fabric”. Meanwhile, prior to the UNSMIL report, Egypt on Saturday, June 6, 2020 announced a unilateral initiative to end the civil war in neighbouring Libya, a plan accepted by General Hafter commander of the eastern forces. President Abdel Fattah elSisi told a news conference in Cairo that his initiative includes a cease-fire that would pave the way for elections in oilrich Libya. He warned against continuing to look for a military solution to the country’s crisis. “There can be no stability in Libya unless peaceful means to the crisis are found that include the unity and integrity of the national institutions,” elSisi said. At press time the GNA had not yet reacted to the cease-fire proposal.

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