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UN: Libya’s Tripoli hospitals report 47 dead in recent fighting

Published: April 9, 2019
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Health facilities near Tripoli have reported 47 people killed and 181 wounded in recent days as eastern forces seek to take Libya’s capital from an internationally-recognised government, the United Nations’ health body said today.

The renewed conflict in a nation splintered since the 2011 toppling of Muammar Gaddafi also risks depleting medical supplies, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned.

The death toll – higher than that given by either side yet – appeared to be mainly fighters, although it also included some civilians including two doctors, WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a Geneva news briefing.

The eastern Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Khalifa Haftar – a former general in Gaddafi’s army – seized southern Libya earlier this year before heading to the coastal capital this month, where they are ensconced on the south side.

The United Nations, United States, European Union and G7 block have all appealed for a ceasefire and a return to UN peace plan, but Haftar has so far not heeded them.

A warplane took out Tripoli’s only functioning airport yesterday, and the number of displaced – 3,400 at the last UN count – is mounting alongside the casualties.

The conflict threatens to disrupt oil supplies, boost migration to Europe and scupper hopes for an election to end rivalries between parallel administrations in east and west.

UN officials said they were concerned that civilians could be used as human shields or forcibly recruited to fight.

“The people of Libya have long been caught between numerous warring parties, with some of the most vulnerable suffering some of the gravest violations of their human rights,” UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said.

“I appeal to all sides to come together to avoid further senseless violence and bloodshed.”

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The Libyan Army has launched a new military campaign to combat General Khalifa Haftar’s assault on the capital Tripoli, dubbed “Volcano of Rage”. Newly appointed spokesman for the Libyan Army Mohammed Gununu announced the move yesterday, stating that troops of the Government of National Accord (GNA) had already advanced on several fronts and captured many military vehicles from Haftar’s forces.

US troops have been ordered by the Pentagon to evacuate the Libyan capital of Tripoli as fighting between the UN-backed government and Benghazi-based 'renegade' General Khalifa Haftar spilled into the streets leaving at least 21 dead and 27 injured. US Army's Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced the evacuation on Sunday "in response to the evolving security situation there."

The so-called international community led by the West once itself responsible for destabilizing Libya by toppling Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, is now urging Benghazi-based renegade General Khalifa Haftar to halt his ongoing assault on the country's capital.

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