After a deadly air raid, the Libyan government in Tripoli is considering closing the controversial internment camp for migrants in civil wars. The government is currently reviewing the camps for security reasons and releasing the migrants, Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha said on Thursday. It is beyond the government’s ability to protect the camps from attack by fighter jets.
On Tuesday, two airstrikes hit the refugee camp in Tajoura, in the east of the capital, Tripoli. One rocket hit a vacant garage, another a hall containing some 120 refugees, stated the UN Emergency Relief Agency (OCHA) in a report. At least 53 people were killed according to recent findings, about 130 others were injured. The Libyan Ministry of Health said Thursday about 35 dead and about 65 injured.
In report, the UN emergency response office gave details of the incident. There are reports that guards have fired on refugees who wanted to flee after the first explosion. According to OCHA, around 3,800 migrants are held in camps in and around the capital, Tripoli, against their will. They are exposed to high risks due to the current fighting.
For three months now, around Tripoli, there has been a heavy clash between supporters of the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli and the troops of General Khalifa Haftar, who is supported by the parliament in the east of the country. Both the government in Tripoli and the parliament in Tobruk in eastern Libya claim the power for themselves.
The unity government in Tripoli blamed General Haftar’s air force for the attack. This rejected the allegations. The attack was criticized internationally sharply. However, at a UN Security Council emergency meeting, the panel was unable to agree on a common position.
UN General Secretary Antonio Guterres had already called for an independent investigation after the attack. He was “indignant” and condemn the act near the capital Tripoli in the strongest, said Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Wednesday in New York. He emphasized that the UN had sent the conflicting parties the exact coordinates of the camp. The culprits must be located. It is the most momentous attack since the influential General Khalifa Haftar ordered an offensive on Tripoli in April.
In oil-rich Libya, chaos reigns eight years after the fall of long-term ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi. In the bloody power struggle between the internationally recognized government in Tripoli and General Haftar many countries intervene. Regional militias, gangs and extremists such as the terrorist militia “Islamic State” exploited this. The failed state in North Africa is also an important transit country for migrants who want to go to Europe.
The overcrowded Tadzhura camp is an internment camp, according to UN and human rights organizations. There are more than 600 migrants of different nationalities housed, it said. Since April, more than 700 people have been killed and 4,400 injured in the battles over the capital, Tripoli.