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Libyan government finds more mass graves in former Haftar stronghold

Libyan authorities on Thursday extracted six more bodies from a mass grave in the city of Tarhouna, south-east of Tripoli, raising the total number of corpses found in mass graves south of Tripoli to 219.

Tarhouna was formerly a stronghold of forces loyal to rogue General Khalifa Haftar and the area south of Tripoli was under Haftar’s control until recently.

In April 2019, Haftar launched an assault against Tripoli, where the internationally recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) is located, killing hundreds of people and displacing tens of thousands more.

However, in recent months a GNA offensive has forced Haftar’s troops to retreat from most of western Libya.

The GNA has received critical support from Turkey, while Haftar is backed by the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Russia.

In a statement, the Libyan GNA’s committee which deals with mass graves said that it had found five unidentified corpses with clothing, two of which were blindfolded, as well as the remains of a sixth corpse.

The corpses were photographed and documented, according to the statement.

The committee added that it would continue its work of finding and extracting corpses until all mass grave sites had been accounted for.

Last month, the United Nations expressed “horror” after the GNA found eight mass grave sites in Tarhouna shortly after capturing the city from Haftar’s forces.

The bodies are believed to be of people detained and executed by militias loyal to Haftar. Some of the bodies had their hands tied behind their back and the corpse of a 12-year-old girl was among the bodies found in June.

Libyan GNA forces are currently preparing for a battle in Sirte, the hometown of former dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi which marks the boundary between eastern and western Libya and is under Haftar’s control.

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