11 bullet-ridden bodies found 'executed' in eastern Libya

11 bullet-ridden bodies found 'executed' in eastern Libya
Security sources in Libya said 11 bodies were found with bullet holes in Benghazi.
3 min read
18 March, 2021
The bodies were found in Benghazi [File Photo: Getty]
The bodies of 11 people bearing gunshot wounds were discovered on Thursday in eastern Libya's Benghazi, said a security source, suggesting they had been "executed".

"Security forces were alerted on Thursday of the presence of 11 unidentified bodies at the southern entrance to Benghazi in the Haouari area, near a cement factory," a security source told AFP on condition of anonymity. 

Examinations revealed "bullet holes" in the bodies, supporting the theory that they were "executed", the source added.

In October 2017, 36 suspected jihadists, including 19 foreigners, were shot dead. Their bodies, which bore signs of torture, were dumped in a vacant lot. 

A year earlier, the bodies of 10 young Libyans were found in a garbage dump in Benghazi.

Libya has been ravaged by violence since the 2011 toppling of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed uprising that in recent years pitted rival powers in the country's east and west against each other.

Fighting between the two sides ended in summer last year, with a ceasefire taking effect in October. 

On Monday, a new unity government was sworn in and is now tasked with leading a transition to December elections.

However, the east of the North African country remains controlled by forces loyal to military strongman Khalifa Haftar and the situation remains precarious, with frequent tit-for-tat violence and executions. 

On Wednesday, senior European Union officials said the EU will extend for two years its military mission in the Mediterranean policing the UN arms embargo on conflict-wracked Libya.

The bloc's member states are set to "adopt a decision next week extending its mandate for two extra years until end of March 2023", a senior EU official said. 

The decision to prolong the mission comes as United Nations experts warned that the embargo imposed on Libya in 2011 was "totally ineffective" as it was being blatantly violated by numerous international actors. 

The EU launched its Irini operation - which has four ships, and six aircraft - last March to carry out inspections of vessels at sea in a bid to curb the flow of weaponry to Libya. 

Last week, a 550-page report by UN experts said that an array of international backers on both sides of the conflict had violated the arms embargo - including the Russian Wagner group and US private military contractor Erik Prince.

The experts used photos, diagrams and maps to support the breaches they documented, which cover the period from October 2019 to January 2021.

Haftar's international supporters - including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Russia, Syria, and Egypt - have all been singled out in previous UN reports or in the one published Tuesday. 

Turkey and Qatar, which support the authorities in Tripoli, have also been named by the experts.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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