UN says it is concerned about LNA siege of Derna

By Libya Herald reporter.

Tunis, 6 August 2017:

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, Maria Ribeiro, has expressed concern about reports of severe shortages of medicine and other basic necessities in Derna.

The town, controlled by Islamist mujahideen, has been subject to a blockade by the Libyan National Army. However, this was tightened last week following the execution by the mujahideen of the LNA’s Air Colonel Adel Jehani whose plane was shot down near the town. Responding to the killing, the head of the Omar Mukhtar Operations Room tasked with taking Derna, Brigadier Salem Rifadi, last Sunday declared a total blockade. No food, medicines, cooking gas, petrol or anything else would be allowed in, he said.

For the past week, all roads in and out of the town have been blocked. Three days ago, faced with deteriorating conditions and fearing a humanitarian disaster, Derna’s council of elders issued an appeal.

“The town is being slaughtered in cold-blood by the siege. We call on all to put an end to it,” it said.

Telling on all sides in the conflict to respect humanitarian and human rights law, Ribeiro has called on the LNA to relax the blockade.

“I urge all parties to consider the safety and the wellbeing of the civilians a top priority and allow for the safe delivery of humanitarian supplies to ensure continued access to basic services, especially health”, she said.

The State Council’s second deputy president has added his voice to concerns about the siege, calling on Arab and European countries to put pressure on the LNA to lft it.

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