Middle East

Libyan investigators find more mass graves in recaptured city

TARHOUNA, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan authorities have dug 12 bodies from four more unmarked graves in the city of Tarhouna, adding to the scores of corpses already discovered since the area was recaptured in June by the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Tarhouna had for years been controlled by a militia known as the Kaniyat, run by the local Kani family, which fought alongside Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA).

The GNA has issued arrest warrants for Kaniyat leaders who are now believed to be in eastern Libya.

When Turkish support helped the internationally recognized GNA take back Tarhouna in a sudden advance in June, its fighters found a hospital piled with bodies and unmarked graves containing missing people.

Investigators from the GNA’s missing persons bureau have since then been working, in white forensic suits, to dig through the ruddy earth around Tarhouna for human remains and to identify the bodies.

Many of the bodies recovered so far were those found in the hospital. However, dozens of bodies have also been unearthed from the unmarked grave sites.

Some of the bodies discovered show the marks of violence, including, among those revealed this week, a smashed skull and dismembered limbs, a missing persons bureau official said.

Reporting by Ayman al-Sahely in Tarhouna, writing by Angus McDowall, editing by Alexandra Hudson

Image: Members of the Government of National Accord’s (GNA’s) missing persons bureau exhume bodies in what Libya’s internationally recognized government officials say is a mass grave, in Tarhouna city, Libya October 27, 2020. Picture taken October 27, 2020. REUTERS/Ayman Al-Sahili

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