More than 100 killed in attack on southern Libya airbase — “The soldiers were returning from a military parade. They weren’t armed. Most of them were executed.”

AFP

© Abdullah DOMA / AFP | Members of the Libyan National Army (LNA), also known as the forces loyal to Marshal Khalifa Haftar, patrol on January 28, 2017 the area of Qanfudah, on the outskirts of Benghazi, after retaking it from IS fighters

Latest update : 2017-05-20

An attack on an airbase in south Libya has killed 141 people, mostly soldiers loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar, a spokesman for his forces said on Friday.

Image result for Khalifa Haftar,, photos

Khalifa Haftar

Members of the Third Force militia loyal to the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli on Thursday attacked the base used by Haftar’s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), military sources said earlier.

LNA spokesman Ahmad al-Mesmari late Friday said the victims included civilians who worked at the Brak al-Shati airbase or were in the nearby area, also reporting that summary executions took place.

.file pic of tank fire

Many of those killed were from the Libyan National Army, seen in action in this AFP file photo

“The soldiers were returning from a military parade. They weren’t armed. Most of them were executed,” he said.

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

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

Both the GNA and defence ministry earlier condemned the assault and said they had not ordered any such action.

The unity government, the rival administration in eastern Libya and their respective backers are battling for influence in the North African country which has been wracked by chaos since the fall of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The LNA does not recognise the authority of the GNA, and instead supports the rival authorities based in the east.

UN envoy ‘outraged’

The UN envoy to Libya earlier on Friday voiced alarm at reports of the attack on the base, 650 kilometres (400 miles) south of Tripoli.

“I am outraged by reports of significant numbers of fatalities, including civilians and by reports that summary executions may have taken place,” UN envoy Martin Kobler said in a statement.

Image result for UN envoy Martin Kobler, photos

UN envoy Martin Kobler

Britain’s ambassador to Libya, Peter Millett, also denounced the assault.

“Disgusted by attack on Brak al-Shati & reports of mass executions. Perpetrators must be brought to justice,” he wrote on Twitter.

The incident at the base in Wadi al-Shati district comes a month after an attack by the LNA on the Tamenhant airbase controlled by the Third Force near the south’s main city of Sebha.

That attack was called off after a reconciliation meeting between Haftar and unity government head Fayez al-Sarraj in Abu Dhabi on May 2.

The speaker of the eastern-based parliament, which is supported by the LNA, accused the Misrata-based Third Force of a “serious breach of the truce agreement reached in Abu Dhabi”.

Aguila Saleh said there were a “number of martyrs” in LNA ranks, without giving a figure.

The speaker said he had given orders for the armed forces “to take the measures necessary to respond to the assault and defend the south and cleanse it of all outlaw militias”.

In Tripoli, the GNA called for an immediate ceasefire in the south, where tribes and militias vie for control of lucrative smuggling routes with neighbouring Chad, Niger and Sudan.

“We hope reason will prevail and that the escalation and provocation will stop,” it said.

The unity government’s defence ministry laid the blame on “those who started bombing Tamenhant base with warplanes and tanks”, referring to Haftar’s forces.

In new violence on Friday, a pro-Haftar tribal chief, Sheikh Ibrayek Alwati, and five other people including a child were killed in a car bombing outside a mosque in the eastern city of Slouq, medical and security sources said.

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BBC News

Reports suggest as many as 140 people, including civilians, may have died in an attack on an airbase in Libya.

It was originally thought 60 people died when a government-allied militia tried to take over the Brak al-Shati base on Thursday.

The UN-backed government’s defence minister and the commander of the militia have both been suspended pending an investigation.

The prime minister’s office has denied ordering the attack.

A militia spokesman said they had “liberated the base and destroyed all the forces inside”.

The town’s mayor said some aircraft had been set ablaze.

Most of the dead were soldiers of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), an alliance in the east of the country which does not recognise the government in the capital, Tripoli. That force has been in control of the airbase since December.

Its spokesman gave the new death toll of 140.

“The soldiers were returning from a military parade. They weren’t armed. Most of them were executed,” he said.

The UN’s envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler, said he was “outraged” by reports of summary executions.

The attack breached an informal truce between the rival forces that was reached earlier this month when the LNA’s commander, General Khalifa Haftar, met the UN-backed Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

The Tripoli government has set up an investigative committee to present its findings to the prime minister within 15 days.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-39983806

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2 Responses to “More than 100 killed in attack on southern Libya airbase — “The soldiers were returning from a military parade. They weren’t armed. Most of them were executed.””

  1. Brittius Says:

    Reblogged this on Brittius.

  2. daveyone1 Says:

    Reblogged this on World Peace Forum.

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