By Gabriel Harrison.
Tunis, 5 September 2017:
The number of civilian dead and injured from the violence in Libya fell during August. However, in its monthly tally of innocent casualties, UNSMIL noted that the many of those killed and wounded had been victims of unexploded ordnance, what it terms “Explosive Remnants of War” (ERW).
According to the UN organisation’s calculations, which seek to exclude those participating in any fighting, there were seven deaths, including that of a young boy and 14 injuries. This compares with July’s butcher’s bill of 36 killed and injured, following on from 35 in June.
ERW caused three deaths and six injuries last month. The three such dead, including the male child, were in Benghazi and perished because of undetected boobytraps or other unexploded munitions. UNSMIL said these deaths pinpointed the danger of refugees returning too soon to their homes in former conflict areas.
A National Oil Corporation employee was shot dead on 13 August as he was driving through Zawia. Ten days later, two truck drivers were killed when terrorists from the so-called Islamic State attacked a Libyan National Army (LNA) checkpoint at Fugha, in which nine soldiers also died. That same day, three men were wounded by gunfire following an altercation in a queue outside the Sebha branch of the Sahara Bank.
Six people were hurt in Benghazi at the start of the month when an improvised explosive device was detonated near a mosque in the Sidi Feraj district.
Crossfire, once a major cause of civilian casualties, last month killed a man in Benghazi. Two others in the city were hit by stray bullets.
UNSMIL also included the death of an 18 month-old baby girl in Derna who died of a fever after her parents were unable to get her to hospital because of lack of fuel. It noted that the LNA’s blockade of the town had stopped deliveries of petrol and diesel.
UNSMIL also recorded the discovery of the corpses of six men on a rubbish dump in the Benghazi’s Shibna district. The victims had reportedly been seized in April and July in areas controlled by the LNA. But it is unclear if they were militants or civilians.