Last week, the Libyan government, recognized by the UN National Agreement (GNA), announced control of Tarhun, a key city in the southeastern capital of Tripoli, after pushing away eastern forces led by outlaw General Khalifa Haftar. The city was previously occupied by self-proclaimed forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA) loyal to Haftar.
It is unclear at this time who was responsible for the mass graves.
Tarhuna was critical of Haftar’s forces as a supply route and a strategic base for their attacks on Tripoli. The city is the last major stronghold of Haftar’s forces in western Libya.
UNSMIL said the Libyan justice minister would set up a committee to examine the graves. “We call on its members to immediately undertake work aimed at securing mass graves, identifying victims, determining the cause of death and returning the body to kinship,” the statement added.
Assistant Secretary of State for Middle East Affairs David Schenker also reacted, describing reports of mass graves in Libya as “really disturbing”.
The conflict in Libya has escalated into a proxy war between foreign powers and fighters over the past year. While the UN-recognized GNA is backed by Turkey, the Benghazi-based eastern government is backed by the UAE, Egypt and Russia.
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