By Sami Zaptia.
London, 2 November 2018:
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has documented 10 civilian casualties – eight deaths and two injuries – during the conduct of hostilities across Libya between 1 October to 31 October 2018. All victims were men.
The UNSMIL Human Rights Report on Civilian Casualties in Libya for October 2018 was released yesterday.
The report said that the civilian casualties were caused by gunfire (four killed and one injured) and explosive remnants of war (ERW, four killed and one injured).
UNSMIL documented civilian casualties in Benghazi (four killed and one injured), al-Fuqha (four killed), and al-Zawiya (one injured).
UNSMIL documented eight additional casualties from other possible violations of international humanitarian law and violations or abuses of international human rights law in Derna, al-Zawiya and Awbari.
Civilian Casualty Incidents
On 28 October, Islamic State in Syria and the Levant (ISIL) fighters carried out an attack on al-Fuqha, apparently in revenge for the arrest of an ISIL fighter on 15 October in the town and its residents’ alleged cooperation with the Libyan National Army (LNA). ISIL fighters shot dead two men inside their homes. They dragged two other men outside, killing them execution-style in front of onlookers.
ERWs continued to pose a danger to civilians in Benghazi, particularly in areas that had witnessed protracted fighting between the LNA and the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC).
On 4 October, a man was killed when an ERW detonated at his home in central Benghazi.,. On 7 October, a 55-year-old shepherd was killed in an ERW explosion at an abandoned school in the al-Zariri’ia area. On 27 October, two men were killed and another was injured when an ERW detonated in the Gwarsha neighborhood. According to information gathered by UNSMIL, the three men were employees of an electricity company and were in the area conducting maintenance work.
On 6 October, a man was injured near the al-Zawiya Teaching Hospital in crossfire between members of two local armed groups.
During their attack on al-Fuqha on 28 October, ISIL fighters tampered with the communication network, damaged the local police station and set a number of homes on fire.
On 29 October, a number of al-Zawiya residents set fire to the front entrance of the al-Zawiya Court Complex, apparently in protest against the release from detention of a local Qadhafi-regime figure.
ISIL claimed responsibility for the attack on al-Fuqha on 28 October in a statement issued on the “Amaq news agency”.
The BRSC and allies are believed to have been responsible for leaving mines and ERWs in areas of Benghazi they controlled prior to their retreat.
UNSMIL was unable to determine with certainty which parties to the conflict had caused the other civilian casualties in October.
Casualties from other violations of international humanitarian law and violations or abuses of human rights
On 12 October, in Derna, a 12-year-old boy sustained a gunshot wound to the head, which reportedly left him paralyzed. He was in the street in the neighborhood of Sahel al-Sharki when injured. There were no clashes in the vicinity at the time of the incident.
On 12 October, two men were killed and at least three others injured in Awbari after relatives of a Tebu man who had reportedly been killed accidently by a Tuareg man sought revenge and opened fire in the city centre.
On 25 October, a gunman shot dead a 28-year-old man inside the emergency ward of the al-Zawiya Teaching Hospital, while he was being treated for another injury. A medical professional sustained a minor injury from ricocheting shrapnel.