News / Africa

    Diplomat: New Libyan Clashes Due to Local Dispute

    U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also expressed concerns over casualties in Libya, Jan. 19, 2011 (file photo).
    U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay also expressed concerns over casualties in Libya, Jan. 19, 2011 (file photo).
    Margaret Besheer

    The U.N.’s top diplomat in Libya, Ian Martin, confirmed publicly Wednesday that recent fighting in the town of Bani Walid was due to a local dispute and not supporters of former Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi trying to reassert control over the city.

    In his monthly update to the U.N. Security Council, Martin said the challenge of reconciliation can be highlighted by the outbreak of fighting in the northern town of Bani Walid.

    Formerly a stronghold of loyalists to the former Gadhafi government, the town has been the scene of recent clashes. Some media reports say forces loyal to the interim government had been driven from town by pro-Gadhafi forces. Martin called that incorrect.

    “Regrettably, in the charged local atmosphere, a security-related incident triggered clashes between members of the local population and the revolutionary brigades stationed in the city, as a result of which several [people] were reportedly killed," said Martin. "This has been misreported as pro-Gadhafi forces taking back control of the city.”

    Martin said the Libyan authorities responded by sending units from the national army, and that it is engaging with all parties to contain the situation and address the underlying security and political challenges in the town.

    Also present at Wednesday’s Security Council meeting was U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay. She addressed outstanding questions regarding possible civilian deaths resulting from NATO operations during the mission to protect Libyan civilians from attacks by the Gadhafi government before it fell. Russia has been an outspoken critic of the NATO mission and among the loudest voices calling for an investigation into civilian casualties.

    Pillay said the Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry is investigating the allegations.

    "Information so far indicates that NATO made efforts to keep civilian casualties at a minimum," she said. "But where civilians have been killed and injured, the Alliance should disclose information about all such events and about remedial actions undertaken."

    Libya’s ambassador, Abdurrahman Shalgham, told the council that he knew of only four NATO bombing incidents where there were possible civilian casualties. In one of the incidents, he said, the Libyan commander had rushed in too soon with his men, putting them at risk.

    Shalgham also accused the former dictator’s fighters of hiding out in schools and hospitals, making them NATO targets. He held up a computer memory stick, saying it contained 80,000 telephone conversations between Moammar Gadhafi and the head of a hospital and others, in which the former dictator ordered the bodies of his opponents taken to sites where NATO had bombed, so it would appear as though they had been killed by NATO airstrikes.

    Shalgham said the victims’ families would not allow it.

    Ambassador Shalgham said Libya has let in several international organizations to investigate the matter and they have concluded that those who died, including civilians, were not killed by NATO.

    "Libya is prepared to cooperate with any international investigating body under the auspices of the United Nations," he said via interpreter. "We are going to set up a mechanism to compensate victims psychologically and financially, once we have the results of the investigation."

    The Libyan envoy said that without NATO’s assistance “hundreds of thousands” of people would have died in Benghazi alone.

    Last year the U.N. Security Council authorized NATO to impose a no-fly zone and conduct targeted airstrikes over Libya from March to October, part of a move to protect citizens in danger of Gadhafi forces who were trying to put down a rebellion against his 42-year rule.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora