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Libyan rebel air strike on migrant centre amounts to war crime: UN

New York/Tripoli: The Libyan rebel airstrikes, which were carried out under orders from General Khalifa Haftar, targeted an immigrant camp where 80 people were killed. Severe reactions are emanating from around the world on the incident. The United Nations accused the rebel attacks on the immigrant camps of being a war crime. Meanwhile, the rebels are feared to launch fresh attacks on the refugee camps.

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Infuriated by the failure to gain control over capital Tripoli which is currently under the Libyan government, renegade General Haftar ordered attacks on the government’s supporters. In the rebel airstrikes launched on Tajoura by Wednesday, 80 people have been killed and 70 injured. The Libyan government and the human rights organisations have accused the rebel forces of targeting immigrant camps, in Tajoura. More than 150 immigrants were housed in the camps.

Most of the immigrants killed in the incident were of African origin. The camps comprised of immigrants from other African countries as well, along with those from Libya. They were trying to reach Europe and had therefore arrived at the Tajoura centre. Furthermore, the human rights organisations have accused the rebels of deliberately targeting the immigrant camps. Nevertheless, the rebels have contended the claim stating that they had nothing to do with the attacks and that they had attacked only the government locations. Under the circumstances, the strike on the Tajoura centre has attracted severe criticism from around the world.

Ghassan Salame, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, condemned the airstrikes is harsh words. Special envoy Salame said that the attack launched by the Libyan rebels on the immigrant camps amounts to a serious war crime and then appealed for a ban on the Libyan rebel organisation. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres took serious cognisance of the attack and appealed to the UN Security Council (UNSC) to unanimously endorse the demand for a ban on Haftar’s rebels forces in Libya. However, as the United States withdrew from the decision to ban the Libyan rebels, further action against warlord Haftar has been temporarily suspended.

Meanwhile, the Libyan rebels are claimed likely to launch fresh attacks on the immigrant centres in Tripoli. Also, Libyan sources have warned that the rebels forces would continue to target the government and military locations. Given the circumstances, questions have been raised, once again, over the security of the immigrants at other centres.

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