Tripoli airstrike kills 44 migrants

The internationally recognized Libyan Presidency Council and Government of National Accord led by Faiez Serraj as well as the UN condemned in the strongest possible terms the Tripoli airstrike that led to the death of at least 44 and injury of 130 migrants.

The strike has been attributed by the Serraj government to the Libyan National Army (LNA) Air Force led by Khalifa Hafter who, it will be recalled, had launched an attack on Tripoli on 4 April.

Sources in Tripoli said they heard the loud sound of explosions just after 5 am which were followed by a series of other explosions.

The deaths and injuries occurred in the Tajura migrant centre east of Tripoli.

Unsurprisingly, there are conflicting narratives from the two conflicting sides, with the Hafter side saying they had targeted the militia base near the migrant centre and that the exploding ammunition caused the deaths of the migrants.

The Serraj administration accuse the Hafter side of deliberately targeting the migrant centre.

In its condemnation, the Serraj government described the airstrike as “cowardly” a “mass murder” and a “war crime” which it said added to Hafter’s list of crimes against humanity.

It insisted the airstrike was deliberate and precise and not accidental.

The Serraj administration called on UNSMIL to condemn this “barbaric act” immediately and to send a fact-finding committee to the site to investigate.

It also called on the international community to take a clear and decisive position on these transgressions and to bring an end to this aggression immediately.

It added that this airstrike confirms the enemy’s (Hafter’s) defeat and bankruptcy after suffering huge recent losses (in Gharian).

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), also strongly condemned the attack on the Tajura compound in which migrants were detained.

It confirmed that it led to at least 44 deaths and more than 130 severe injuries. This is the second time this facility, hosting about 600 migrants, has been attacked, it added.

UNSMIL said its head and Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ghassan Salamé, condemns in the strongest terms this cowardly act.