By Libya Herald reporters.
Benghazi, 28 February 2017:
A cousin of Muammar Qaddafi has been killed in an air strike on the 12 Apartment Buildings in Benghazi’s Ganfouda..
It is unclear why Omar Salem Ashkal was in the buildings. His death was announced by the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council’s Saraya Media Centre, which published a picture of his dust covered body. His family is also reported to have confirmed he had been killed.
One report maintains that Ashkal had been captured by BRSC but was later released. The reason is not known. He had however refused to leave the 12 Apartments without other civilians.
The fate of families trapped in this last militant enclave in Ganfouda has been raised by UNSMIL chief Martin Kobler. He had previously led international concern at the hundreds of civilians reported last year to have been trapped in the larger area of Ganfouda and suffering starvation as well as air strikes and artillery fire. In the event, when the LNA overran the main area, they claimed to have found plentiful supplies of food.
Today however, Kobler welcomed agreement by the LNA for a ceasefire to allow a safe passage for civilians wishing to escape the enclave and for fighters to surrender. It is unclear if the militants are prepared to accept the deal. When they were surrounded last year in the main area of Ganfouda they had rejected any civilian evacuation because each person coming out would have been searched and identified.
Kobler has insisted that everyone involved in the battle would be held accountable for any breaches of human rights.
He said that civilians and fighters who were sick or injured and had laid down their arms should be protected. He urged the delivery of humanitarian aid to the buildings. Civilians should not be used as human shields.
Moreover, all those taken into custody should be treated with dignity, allowed family visits, legal representation and for foreign nationals contact with their consular services.
Despite the LNA’s ceasefire agreement, fighting has continued today in which four soldiers died, all it appears in an explosion probably part of a booby trap. At least five soldiers were injured.