Killings: There were numerous reports that government-aligned militias, antigovernment militias, and some tribes committed arbitrary and unlawful killings of civilians. Primary targets of killings included political opponents; members of police, internal security apparatus and military intelligence; and judges, political activists, members of civil society, journalists, religious leaders, and Qadhafi-affiliated former officials and soldiers.
On May 18, HRW reported government aligned forces attacked an LNA base and allegedly executed at least 30 captured individuals. According to HRW, on May 18, soldiers from the 13th Battalion aligned with the government attacked the base in Brak al-Shati, in the south, and executed troops from the 12th Battalion of the LNA. The prime minister ordered an investigation and the suspension of his defense minister and the commander of the battalion responsible for the attack. In November militias nominally aligned with the government were implicated in the deaths of 28 individuals during clashes between rival factions in Warshefana, an area in the west. UNSMIL expressed concern that some of these individuals may have been killed in a manner that violated international law.
The LNA, under Khalifa Haftar, continued attacks by ground and air forces against opponents in Benghazi, including terrorists belonging to or affiliated with ISIS or Ansar al-Sharia. While casualty numbers were uncertain, reports from media and NGOs estimated that Haftar’s campaign resulted in hundreds of dead and thousands injured, including civilians, since it began in 2014. On October 26, 36 bodies with signs of torture were discovered in al-Abyar in an area controlled by the LNA. The LNA reportedly initiated an investigation, but no charges had been filed at year’s end.
In June two videos emerged on social media depicting the apparent summary executions of six men in the east. On July 24, a subsequent video emerged appearing to show the execution of 20 individuals. In all the videos, Mahmoud al-Warfalli, an LNA field commander from Benghazi, was clearly identifiable. The same commander appeared in earlier videos of summary executions. The LNA announced it was investigating the allegations and suspending Warfalli, but LNA leadership publicly questioned the validity of the accusations and Warfalli continued to participate in LNA operations. There was no progress on the investigation at year’s end.
There were many reports on civilians killed during fighting in the country. In April UNSMIL and Amnesty International (AI) also reported indiscriminant and disproportionate shelling of the densely populated Benghazi neighborhood of Juliyana.
On October 30, air strikes killed at least 15 individuals, including at least 12 women and children, and injuring more than 23, in Derna.
There were reports of killings by unexploded ordinance. In June unexploded ordinance killed two men in Benghazi in the area of Qawarsha in two separate incidents.
Although exact figures were impossible to obtain, bombings and killings likely carried out by terrorist organizations, such as ISIS, Ansar al-Sharia, al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, and their affiliates, resulted in civilian casualties. For example, on August 23, ISIS fighters shot and killed two civilians in an attack at an LNA checkpoint in Fuqaha, located in the Jufra province.
Abductions: Forces aligned with both the government and its opponents were responsible for the disappearance of civilians in conflict areas, although in most cases, the details remained obscure. In the eastern region, a campaign of killings, kidnappings, and intimidation targeted activists, journalists, former government officials, and the security forces. Kidnappings remained a daily occurrence in many cities. For example, on April 20, Salem Mohamed Beitelmal, a professor at the University of Tripoli, was driving to work when local militias abducted him on the outskirts of western Tripoli. On June 6, his captors released him.
Physical Abuse, Punishment, and Torture: Jailers at both government and extralegal detention centers reportedly tortured prisoners. The lack of full government control over detention facilities obscured understanding of the situation.
The extent of torture by members of terrorist groups and militias remained unknown, although some militias reportedly physically abused detainees. Individuals who expressed controversial opinions, such as journalists, suffered from violence. There were no developments in the case of Naseeb Miloud Karfana, a television journalist based in Sabha, killed in 2014 along with her fiance.
On October 26, the bodies of 36 citizens were discovered in al-Abyar in an area controlled by the LNA with signs of torture. The LNA reportedly initiated an investigation, but no charges had been filed at year’s end.
Child Soldiers: There were reports of minors joining militias, although government policy required proof recruits were at least age 18. There were multiple reports of underage militia enlistees; however, there was no verifiable information regarding any age-related requirements for joining. The government did not make efforts to investigate or punish recruitment or use of child soldiers. According to media reports, ISIS claimed to have been training children in the country for its operations, such as suicide attacks, firing weapons, and making improvised explosive devices. In 2016 the LNA claimed ISIS forced child soldiers from Libya and other Arab countries into a training camp in Sirte.
Also see the Department of State’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report at www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/.
Other Conflict-related Abuse: Additional abuses stemming from increased conflict included restrictions on travel, deliberate attacks on health-care facilities, and the forceful displacement of civilians. On July 4, the bodies of 19 Egyptian migrants, including one boy age 17, were found south of Tobruk, apparently having died after suffering from dehydration.
The LNA continued its siege of Derna in the east. The LNA launched airstrikes against Derna, established a total blockade of the city, and limited access to the city by medical and humanitarian organizations. The LNA justified its action because of the presence of ISIS militants within the city.
On March 22, AI stated that as LNA forces ended a multi-year military blockade of the Ganfouda neighborhood of southwest Benghazi, LNA forces killed and beat civilians and summarily executed and desecrated bodies of opposition fighters.