Eight Civilians Killed as Libyan Govt Bombs Camp Near Tripoli

Libya Claimed Site Was Military Base, Then 'Empty Farm'

Eight civilians were killed today when Libyan warplanes, trying to soften up the region around the capital for an attempted military takeover, bombed a refugee camp full of Libya’s Tawergha minority.

The Tawergha, blacks from neighboring African nations, were seen as pro-Gadhafi during the Libyan Revolution and have been heavily persecuted since then, with many of them living in camps after being chased out of their homes.

“Tawergha” doesn’t technically refer to a specific ethnicity, but has rather become a catch-all term for Libya’s blacks. There was a town of Tawergha, near the city of Misrata, which was a majority black town. The entire population was expelled during the civil war, and those refugees have been hounded elsewhere ever since. The former town of Tawergha is called “New Misrata” by the city of Misrata’s militia, whose forces now control several cities around west Libya, and parts of Tripoli.

The internationally recognized Libyan government is running out of a single town in far eastern Libya, though with the backing of Egypt and others, they aim to retake the country. They weren’t particularly clear on the hitting of the refugee camp, however.

After it was announced by US Ambassador Deborah Jones, Libya’s military denounced the allegation and demanded a public apology, saying they’d hit a military base and everyone killed was combatants. A short while later another of their allies claimed the attack hit an empty farm near the refugee camp, and that no one actually died, though other officials later conceded that the attack was as reported.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.