Forensics teams in war-shattered Libya have discovered 10 more bodies in mass graves in a once militia-controlled town outside the capital Tripoli, the Government of National Accord said on Thursday.
“Three bodies were blindfolded and their wrists bound,” the GNA’s interior ministry said in a Facebook post on the latest grisly find at Tarhuna, 80 kilometres (50 miles) southeast of Tripoli.
The United Nations had voiced “horror” when the mass graves were first discovered last June. Since then more than 120 bodies have been exhumed there, including women and children, following the latest finds.
The discovery last June came a day after the withdrawal of forces loyal to eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar from the town.
Haftar had used Tarhuna as the main staging point for an ultimately failed attempt to seize the capital in a military offensive launched in April 2019.
New York-based Human Rights Watch has said more than 300 people had been abducted or reported missing in the past in Tarhuna, which is now back under GNA control.
Residents had reported that the local Al-Kani militia had “often abducted, detained, tortured, killed and disappeared people,” said the rights watchdog.
Libya has been wracked by violence since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.
The conflict pitted the GNA, recognised by the United Nations and backed by Turkey, against the eastern-based administration of Haftar, supported by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Russia.
A ceasefire was signed in October, and the rival camps have since agreed to a UN-sponsored political dialogue, with presidential and legislative elections scheduled for later this year.