Fireworks and exultant gunfire lit the Benghazi skyline on Saturday night, as forces loyal to east Libya’s General Haftar celebrated their final victory over the town’s Islamist fighters.
The Libyan National Army (LNA) captured the last residential block filled with Benghazi Shura Council (BSC) fighters, after almost three years of fighting on Saturday.
LNA fighters celebrated by exhuming the dead bodies of Islamist fighters, including their senior leader, Jalal Al-Makhzoum, before parading them through town.
The National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (LNHCR) has complained of the LNA’s activities, calling them a war crime.
“This act is far from being a little human. It is a war crime that should be punished,” the LNCHR said in a statement.
The New Arab has seen footage of what appears to be LNA soldiers strapping the dead bodies onto the front of their vehicles and driving them through the town.
The desecration of dead bodies is a war crime under the International Criminal Court’s statute of “committing outrages upon personal dignity”. The Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam also states it “is prohibited to mutilate dead bodies.”
Dozens of civilians were evacuated from the Ganfouda neighbourhood on Saturday, where they had been besieged for days without any food or water.
The BSC is a jihadist Islamist organisation that claimed in December to have no ties to either al-Qaeda or Islamic State.
General Haftar, the leader of the LNA, met with the British ambassador on Wednesday, two days after his forces recaptured the so-called ‘Oil Crescent’, an important enclave of oil terminals in East Libya.
Millett said the meeting was “satisfying and useful” and part of a “programme of outreach”.
“Ground, sea and air forces launched joint attacks to liberate Ras Lanuf from terrorist groups,” Khalifa al-Abidi, an LNA spokesperson, said.