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

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Audio Hit Song Delivers Ebola Message in Liberia

'Ebola in Town' has danceable beat, while also delivering serious message about avoiding infection More

Video New Technology Gives Surgeons Unprecedented Views of Patients’ Bodies

Technology offers real-time, interactive, medical visualization and is multi-dimensional More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid