Libya: Human Rights Report on Civilian Casualties – March 2018
TUNIS, Tunisia, April 2, 2018–From 1 March to 31 March 2018, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) documented 16 civilian casualties – five deaths and 11 injuries – during the conduct of hostilities across Libya, a significant drop from the two previous months. Victims included three men, one woman and one girl killed and three men, one woman, four boys and three girls injured.
The majority of civilian casualties were caused by shelling (two deaths and seven injuries), followed by gunfire (two deaths), explosive remnants of war (ERW, one death), and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED, one injury). The exact causes of one death and three injuries was unknown
UNSMIL documented civilian casualties in Sabha (four killed and eight injured), Derna (two injured), Benghazi (one killed) and Ajdabiya (one injured).
UNSMIL documented four additional casualties from other possible violations of international humanitarian law and violations or abuses of international human rights law in al-Zawiya, Benghazi and Sabha.
Civilian Casualty Incidents
Between 6 and 24 March, intermittent clashes in Sabha between Awlad Suleiman and Tebu tribal armed groups and their allies claimed at least four civilian lives and eight civilian injuries. Casualties occurred as a result of the use of indiscriminate fire in densely populated areas, as well as reports of sniper shootings at civilians or civilian vehicles. Civilian casualties in Sabha included a 6 year-old-girl killed and three other children injured on 6 March in the Hajara neigbourhood when a shell hit their temporary refuge. They had earlier fled their homes in the area of Tayouri due to clashes. On 7 March, a Tebu man was killed by multiple gunshots in southern Sabha. On 10 March, an 11-year-old girl sustained shrapnel injuries in the shelling of her home. On 11 March, a woman was killed while her husband, a doctor from Gatroun, and their two children were injured when their moving vehicle came under fire in south-eastern Sabha. On 18 March, a 46-year-old man of Arab origin sustained minor injuries when a shell, hit his residence. On 24 March, an unidentified man, likely to have been a Sub-Saharan African migrant worker, was killed in the shelling of the Hajara neighbourhood.
On 4 March, a woman and her daughter sustained minor shrapnel injuries when their home in western Derna was hit by an unknown projectile. The outskirts of Derna have witnessed sporadic fighting between the Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council.
On 20 March, a Palestinian man and long-term resident of Benghazi, was killed when an unknown explosive detonated in his home in the area of Sabry, site of protracted fighting between the LNA and the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) and their allies.
On 29 March, a civilian sustained a minor injury when a VBIED detonated at a checkpoint east of Ajdabiya. The attack also left six LNA affiliated military personnel dead and another nine injured.
The BRSC and allies are believed to have been responsible for leaving mines and ERWs in areas of Benghazi they controlled prior to their retreat.
The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the VBIED attack on the checkpoint east of Ajdabiya through the “Amaq News Agency”.
UNSMIL was unable to determine with certainty which parties to the conflict had caused the other civilian casualties in March.
Casualties from other violations of international humanitarian law and violations or abuses of human rights
On 4 March, a man was shot dead by unidentified gunmen inside his Sabha shop. On 23 March, a 52-year-old man was shot in the neighbourhood of Manshia in Sabha. During both incidents, there were no armed clashes in the vicinity. The two killings are not believed to have been linked to the ongoing armed conflict in Sabha.
On 18 March, a university student from al-Zawiya was gunned down on the street by a member of an armed group. The motive of the killing remains unclear.
On 25 March, the body of a member of the Special Forces, believed to have been a medical professional, was uncovered in al-Kuweifiya inside his vehicle. He suffered from multiple gunshot wounds. A number of suspects have been arrested in Benghazi in relation to the incident.