UN: Libyan Guards Shot at Migrants Fleeing Airstrike

Civilians tried to flee after strikes hit detention center

Adding to the scandal surrounding an airstrike against a detention center for migrants in Tripoli earlier this week, the UN reported on Thursday that guards assigned to the facility opened fire on fleeing migrants who tried to run away when the airstrikes hit the building.

The facility was holding “illegal immigrants,” generally people from elsewhere in Africa, many of whom moved into the country during the Gaddafi era. Around 500 were held at the compound, inducing 120 who were in an airplane hanger that was among the buildings hit in the airstrike.

The death toll is up to 53 killed, with bodies still being recovered from the rubble. It’s not clear how many were actual killed in the airstrikes themselves, two of which hit the compound, and how many were just shot to death by guards who tried to prevent them from running away.

The Libyan unity government says it is considering closing the detainee centers and releasing everyone. The UN has called on migrants to be released and given safe shelter, noting Libya isn’t a safe place to be.

The airstrikes were blamed on the Libyan National Army (LNA) faction, which their leader denies. The guards shooting at the civilians on the ground would clearly be loyal to the unity government, who are also denying the report.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.