Human Rights Watch: Haftar's forces, affiliated foreign fighters planted anti-personnel mines in Tripoli

Human Rights Watch: Haftar's forces, affiliated foreign fighters planted anti-personnel mines in Tripoli

June 03, 2020 - 19:09
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Written By: AbdulkaderAssad

Human Rights Watch said that armed groups and fighters under Khalifa Haftar's command "appear to have used antipersonnel landmines and booby traps in Tripoli in late May 2020.

In a report on Wednesday, Human Rights Watch added that fighters affiliated with Haftar's forces, including foreign forces, appear to have laid mines as they withdrew from southern districts of Tripoli.

The report urged Haftar to publicly pledge and instruct fighters under his command and foreign fighters supporting his war against Tripoli to stop using landmines and destroy any stocks in their possession.

"These devices were assembled and used in a manner intended to be detonated by the presence, proximity, or contact of a person," Human Rights Watch said, adding they are able to incapacitate, injure, or kill one or more people.

"Such victim-activated explosive devices are prohibited by the Mine Ban Treaty, regardless of whether the antipersonnel mine was assembled in a factory or improvised from locally available materials." It said.

Human Rights Watch said GNA-aligned forces shared photographs on Twitter on May 29 showing four types of antipersonnel landmines manufactured in the Soviet Union or Russia and said they were “laid by the Wagner mercenaries,” a Kremlin-linked private military company that supports Haftar's forces in the Ain Zara, Al-Khilla, Salah Al-Deen, Sidra, and Wadi al-Rabi districts of Tripoli.

"Other photographs shared on social media show mines equipped with tripwires and mines used as triggers to detonate larger improvised explosive devices. Video footage shows various explosive charges used to booby trap homes, including antivehicle mines, paired with various types of fuzes and a mix of electronic timers, circuit boards, and modified cell phones." Human Rights Watch added.

Arms division director at Human Rights Watch and chair of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the Nobel Peace Co-Laureate, Steve Goose, said the use of internationally banned landmines is unconscionable, adding that those fighting in Tripoli should halt using landmines and start clearing them to avoid further harm to life and limb.

"This latest landmine use is adding to Libya’s already considerable burden of uncleared mines, abandoned ordnance, unexploded ordnance, and danger for Libyans for years to come.” Goose said.

 

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