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Rights group urges Libyan general to probe killings

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Author: The Associated PressThu, 2017-03-23ID: 1490209048323336500
CAIRO: Human Rights Watch urged a powerful general in eastern Libya on Wednesday to investigate allegations that his forces committed war crimes such as killing prisoners and desecrating bodies.
Relatives, activists, and local journalists described such acts by troops under the command of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar in the eastern city of Benghazi on and around March 18, the group said in a statement.
“The Libyan National Army’s leadership needs to respond urgently to these deeply disturbing allegations by investigating the suspected perpetrators, including senior military commanders who may bear individual responsibility,” said Joe Stork, Middle East and North Africa deputy director at Human Rights Watch.
Haftar’s self-styled national army is composed of old regime’s officers, remains of the national military and civilians-turned-fighters. Last week it retook two key oil terminals that had been seized by militias loyal to the rival government based in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, driving out fighters, including some opponents from Benghazi he had been fighting in a long-running standoff.
Following the rout, civilians fled Benghazi’s Ganfouda neighborhood, and relatives told Human Rights Watch that some were captured and gunned down.
Videos and photos that the group saw by family members of victims, local journalists, and activists purported to show bodies of fighters in Benghazi allegedly desecrated and mutilated by the army. Another video showed a known commander, Mahmoud Al-Warfalli, shooting three men in the head who had been lined up against a wall.
The army later said in a statement that it would arrest those suspected of the violations and bring them before an investigative committee, but the New York-based rights group said many of its leaders also put out statements defending the actions.

Main category: Middle-Eastrelated_nodes: Rogue Libyan general’s men attack ParliamentUN holds talks with warring Libyan rebelsLibya’s powerful general lashes at UN envoy for ‘meddling’Libya’s eastern Parliament quits UN peace deal with Tripoli

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