from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – AT least 356 people have been killed and 329 injured since the rebel Libyan National Army (LNA) launched an offensive to seize Tripoli, Libya’s capital, a year ago.
Saturday marked exactly a year since the offensive led by the General Khalifa Haftar against the Government of National Accord (GNA).
The conflict has since escalated into a dangerous and potentially endless war fueled by foreign powers backing the rival parties.
The humanitarian situation has deteriorated to levels never previously witnessed in Libya, which initially degenerated into mayhem when Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011.
Around 149 000 people in and around Tripoli have been forced to flee their homes since the beginning of the offensive and nearly 345 000 civilians remain in frontline areas.
An additional 749 000 people are estimated to live in areas affected by the clashes.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) estimates that around 893 000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
UNSMIL has received increasing reports of hundreds of cases of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, torture and extrajudicial executions by armed groups in towns and cities across Libya.
Human rights violations have also increased with attacks against human rights defenders and journalists, doctors, lawyers and judges, migrants and refugees.
There has been massive damage to homes, hospitals, schools and detention facilities.
“The one-year long war had also taken a heavy toll on an already struggling economy,” a UNSMIL spokesperson added.
UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has appealed to rival parties to end this war in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The North African country has confirmed 17 cases of the coronavirus pandemic. One person has already died from COVID-19.
– CAJ News