TRIPOLI: World Health Organization said that almost 1,000 people have been killed since Libyan renegade military commander Khalifa Haftar launched a campaign to capture the capital of Libya, Tripoli.
The figure also included at least 60 detained migrants who died in a devastating air attack on a detention centre in the Tripoli suburb of Tajoura on Tuesday night.
Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which holds eastern Libya and much of the country’s south, launched an offensive in early April to seize the capital from forces loyal to the United Nations-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA).
Air attacks and ground fighting have since left nearly 1,000 people dead and some 5,000 wounded, the WHO said, without specifying the breakdown between civilians and fighters.
The fighting has forced more than 100,000 people to flee their homes in a country mired by a bloody power struggle between militias since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
The GNA has accused Haftar’s forces of carrying out the attack on the migrant detention centre.
The LNA denied the accusation, saying it had targeted a nearby militia’s position but did not hit the hangar.
A Geneva-based spokesman for the International Organization for Migration said six children were among those killed.
Joel Millman said “350 migrants, including 20 women and four children”, were still detained at the centre, one of five air hangars hit in the raid. The UN reported that guards shot at migrants as they tried to escape the bombing, a claim security personnel deny.
WHO urges a rapid & peaceful solution so that all people in #Libya are safe from harm.
UN agencies and humanitarian groups have repeatedly voiced concern over the plight of thousands of migrants and refugees held in detention centres near combat zones in the capital.
According to the UN, some 5,700 migrants and refugees are being held in detention centres in Libya, 3,300 of which are vulnerable to fighting in and around Tripoli.