Libya: Air raid kills dozens at Tripoli migrant detention center

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An attack has killed up to 40 migrants at a detention centre on the outskirts of the Libyan capital Tripoli, government officials said.

Eighty people were injured at the centre, which the UN-backed government says was hit by an air strike.

Anti-government forces led by warlord Gen Khalifa Haftar have accused government forces of bombarding it.

Most of the dead are believed to be Africans, attempting to reach Europe on clandestine sea crossings from Libya.

Thousands of migrants are stopped and held in government-run detention centres.

The country has been torn by violence and division since long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011.

An official in the Libyan health ministry, Doctor Khalid Bin Attia, described the carnage for newsmen after attending the scene:

“People were everywhere, the camp was destroyed, people are crying here, there is psychological trauma, the lights cut off.

We couldn’t see the area very clear but just when the ambulance came, it was horrible, blood is everywhere, somebody’s guts in pieces.”

The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, accused the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) of carrying out an air strike on the centre.

The “heinous crime” was “premeditated” and “precise”, it said.

The LNA – led by Gen Haftar – was fighting government forces in the area where the strike happened.

It had announced on Monday that it would start heavy air strikes on targets in Tripoli after “traditional means” of war had been exhausted.

The LNA said its warplanes had bombed a pro-government camp near the centre and pro-government forces had fired shells in response, hitting the migrant centre by accident.

Hauwa Mustapha

 

Algerian parliament President