UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Libya Yacoub El Hillo calls for end to ‘merciless attacks against civilians’
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) on Monday condemned airstrikes carried out by East Libya-based forces in the past few days that claimed over a dozen civilian lives.
“The Humanitarian Coordinator in Libya Mr. Yacoub El Hillo condemns in the strongest possible terms the airstrikes that took place in the past few days in different parts of Libya, causing the deaths of civilians, the majority of whom were children and women,” he said in a statement.
He noted that civilians, mostly children, still pay “the ultimate price” of a conflict which they did not start and do not want.
“I am appalled by these horrific attacks, which constitute yet another blatant violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws.”
Calling on all parties to the conflict to abide by obligations under international law and human rights law, he added that “such merciless attacks against civilians, health workers, as well as civilian infrastructure including hospitals and schools must end immediately.”
Libya’s internationally recognized government said Monday that East Libya-based forces killed at least 16 people, calling the attacks in the capital Tripoli and town of Murzuq “tantamount to war crimes.”
The deaths came a day after the Tripoli-based government said five children were killed in airstrikes by forces loyal to East Libya-based military commander Khalifa Haftar on the capital.
In April, forces aligned with Haftar launched a military campaign to capture Tripoli from the UN-recognized Government of National Accord but have so far failed to make advances beyond the borders of the capital.
More than 1,000 people have been killed since the start of the operation and more than 5,000 injured, according to UN data.
Since the ouster of late long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and another in Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.
*Writing by Sena Guler