This image grab taken from a video published by the War Information Division of military strongman Khalifa Haftar’s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) on April 28, 2020 shows Haftar giving a speech, saying he had “a popular mandate” to govern the country, declaring a key 2015 political deal over and vowing to press his assault to seize Tripoli. – In a speech on his Libya al-Hadath TV channel, Haftar said his self-styled Libyan “army” was “proud to be mandated with the historic task” of leading Libya. He did not make clear whether an elected parliament in the country’s east, a signatory to the deal, backed his move — or what its future role would be. Haftar has so far drawn his legitimacy from the administration based in the country’s east, and last April his forces launched an assault to seize the capital Tripoli, in the west, from the Government of National Accord. (Photo by – / LNA War Information Division / AFP) /

Forensics teams in Libya have discovered 10 more bodies in mass graves in a once militia-controlled town outside the capital Tripoli, the Government of National Accord said on Thursday.

“Three bodies were blindfolded and their wrists bound,” the GNA’s interior ministry said in a Facebook post on the latest grisly find at Tarhuna, 80 kilometres (50 miles) southeast of Tripoli.

The United Nations had voiced “horror” when the mass graves were first discovered last June. Since then more than 120 bodies have been exhumed there, including women and children, following the latest finds.

The discovery last June came a day after the withdrawal of forces loyal to eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar from the town.

Haftar had used Tarhuna as the main staging point for his failed attempt to seize the capital in a military offensive launched in April 2019.


New York-based Human Rights Watch has said more than 300 people had been abducted or reported missing in the past in Tarhuna, which is now back under GNA control.

Residents had reported that the local Al-Kani militia had “often abducted, detained, tortured, killed and disappeared people,” said the rights watchdog.

Libya has been wracked by violence since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The conflict pitted the GNA, recognized by the United Nations and backed by Turkey, against the eastern-based administration of Haftar, supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Russia.

A ceasefire was signed in October, and the rival camps have since agreed to a UN-sponsored political dialogue, with presidential and legislative elections scheduled for later this year.

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