By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 18 June 2017:
People in Benghazi are paying a growing price in death and injuries from reckless attacks with . . .[restrict]heavy weapons in residential areas, Amnesty International has claimed.
In a detailed report outlining the devastation of property and killing of civilians in Benghazi, Amnesty called for an end to fighting in the city. “Libyan armed forces and armed groups, including militias, must immediately stop the reckless shelling of residential areas, endangering the lives of Benghazi residents,” Amnesty declared.
Amnesty has detailed civilians being killed or injured during the fighting between retired Operation Dignity forces and groups aligned with Ansar Al-Sharia and the 17 February Martyrs Brigade. Amnesty blames both sides for the loss of life and property in the city.
With fighting taking place in residential areas, a number of Benghazi residents has been killed, including an 11-year old boy. Children have also been injured in the almost-daily shelling. Foreign labourers have also been injured.
Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director at Amnesty International said: “Libyans are increasingly paying the price of reckless attacks with heavy weapons in residential areas that kill and injure people who are not posing an immediate threat, including those trying to treat the injured.”
The report mentions Sidi Faraj and Hawari, two areas that have seen the bulk of the fighting, where damage, it says, has been extensive.
Eyewitnesses reported damage to homes, farmhouses, cars, crops, commercial warehouses and the death of livestock as a result of the shelling and combat in the Hawari, Sidi Faraj and Gwarsha areas. In many cases, it is unclear who is responsible for the destruction.
Sahraoui added: “All sides must ensure that captives are treated humanely, in accordance with international law.”
Amnesty lists in detail some of the local residents killed or injured in the clashes, including some of the 23 killed and 97 injured in the 2 June clashes. The report mentions a woman killed by a stray bullet while standing on her balcony, a student killed when his house was hit by a shell, and women and children injured in the fighting.
Amnesty International also condemns the shelling of the Ibn Sina clinic, a hospital managed by the Libyan Red Crescent Society. The clinic’s intensive care, maternity and physiotherapy units all suffered damage, as did an ambulance belonging to the hospital. The clinic suspended work for two days because of the shelling.
“The targeting of medical institutions and staff is prohibited under international law. Shelling that results in such violations and the obstruction of medical treatment must stop immediately,” said Sahraoui.
Additionally, the report mentioned that Tawerghans living in a camp had to move as a result of the fighting. Six residents, including some children, sustaining shrapnel injuries in fighting on 26 May. The UNHCR has said that around 550 displaced Tawerghans have been displaced yet again since fighting began in Benghazi. [/restrict]