Nine bodies found in new Libya mass grave: pro-govt forces
June 29, 2020 08:15 PM
Nine bodies have been found in another mass grave in the Libyan town of Tarhuna after fighters loyal to eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar withdrew, pro-government forces said Monday.
Tarhuna, southeast of Tripoli, served as the main staging point for Haftar's abortive offensive aimed at seizing the capital from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
"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.
Government forces earlier this month said they had discovered eight other suspected mass graves, most of them in and around Tarhuna, with the United Nations voicing "horror" at the reports.
Monday's statement said authorities were still searching for other potential mass graves "left by the Al-Kani criminal gangs, a pro-Haftar militia".
Forces loyal to the GNA seized back Tarhuna, Haftar's last western stronghold, on June 5.
The 14 months of fighting for the capital left hundreds dead and forced some 200,000 people to flee their homes.
On June 22 the UN's top rights body ordered a fact-finding mission to Libya to document violations committed since 2016, while an International Criminal Court prosecutor said mass graves discovered there may constitute evidence of war crimes.
Oil-rich Libya has been torn by conflict since the 2011 toppling and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed uprising.