Two bodies exhumed as more mass graves discovered in Libya's Tarhuna

Two bodies exhumed as more mass graves discovered in Libya's Tarhuna
Two bodies have been exhumed from a recently discovered mass grave in the Libyan town of Tarhuna, weeks after the discovery of another body.
2 min read
08 July, 2021
With over 140 bodies exhumed from mass grave in Tarhuna, a town formerly run by a pro-Haftar militia, authorities’ efforts to locate more bodies continue [Getty]

Libyan authorities on Wednesday exhumed two bodies from a recently discovered grave in the farming town of Tarhuna, in the second such grisly finding in less than a month.

In a statement posted on its Facebook page, the Public Authority for Search and Identification of Missing Persons said that following the identification of a burial site a day prior, one of its teams unearthed the remains of two unknown individuals on Wednesday.

Photos posted online showed men clad in overalls surrounding corpses that were blurred.

The exhumations come after authorities announced the discovery of a body on June 16. At the start of June, four bodies were unearthed at two sites in the town.

With the bodies of over 140 people exhumed from mass graves in Tarhuna, including some founded blindfolded with their wrists tied up, the authorities' slow and painstaking efforts to uncover the town's chilling past continue.

Located some 80 kilometres southeast of Tripoli, Tarhuna suffered under five years of brutal rule by the Kaniyat militia, who residents and officials accuse of systematically executing civilians and opponents.

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The Kaniyat had pledged loyalty to Libya’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), but the group switched their loyalties when rogue warlord Khalifa Haftar used the city as a launchpad for his forces during their month-long offensive to seize Tripoli in 2019.

According to Human Rights Watch, 338 people have been identified as having been abducted or disappeared during the five-year rule of the Kaniyat.

The slow process to unearth the bodies buried in mass graves began in June 2020, after the town was captured from Haftar.

The militia was led by six brothers, two of whom have been killed, while four remain at large.