UN, Others, Condemn Bombing of Military Academy in southern Tripoli
The United nations, the US and Turkey have condemned the death of 30 military trainees who were killed Saturday in an airstrike, reportedly perpetrated by forces of east-based military commander Khalifa Haftar.
Saturday’s bombing reportedly took place as cadets were gathering on a parade ground at the Hadaba academy in a southern district of capital Tripoli.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), on Sunday strongly condemned the bombing of the military academy in the capital Tripoli, which according to news reports left at least 30 dead and more than 30 others wounded.
Responding to Saturday’s attack, where the majority of victims were reportedly cadets from cities across the country, UNSMIL stressed in a statement in Arabic on Twitter, that the escalation in military action “in this dangerous manner further complicates the situation in Libya and threatens opportunities to return to the political process.”
On the eve of the shelling of the academy, and following an uptick in aerial attacks and shelling in recent weeks, which have killed at least 11 civilians since early December, the Secretary-General António Guterres released a statement on Friday, renewing his call for an immediate ceasefire in Libya and a return to political dialogue.
Turkey, in a statement issued by its foreign ministry, urged the international community to take steps to stop Haftar, secure a ceasefire in Libya, and to put an end to external support provided to Haftar.
The ministry underlined that Turkey would continue to pursue efforts in solidarity with the UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA).
The US also on Sunday expressed its discontent over the attack on the military training school and voiced concerns over foreign interference in Libyan internal affairs. “We also condemn attacks in recent days against Tripoli’s Matiga Airport and indiscriminate shelling against civilian infrastructure and residential neighborhoods of Tripoli, which killed and injured many civilians,” the US embassy in Libya said in a statement.
“All Libyan parties have a responsibility to end this dangerous involvement of foreign forces, which is contributing to civilian casualties and damaging civilian infrastructure to the detriment of all Libyans,” it added.
The airstrikes occurred as Haftar announced in December the final push for the seizure of Tripoli amid growing Turkish plans to intervene on the side of the GNA following a Nov. maritime and security agreement between the UN-backed Libyan government and Ankara. The Turkish parliament Thursday approved the government plans to send troops to the oil-rich African country dogged by rivalries since 2011 following removal and killing of former Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed revolution.
Haftar launched early April a surprise military offensive to seize the Libyan capital from the GNA that he accuses of housing terrorist and criminal groups. The offensive backed by Egypt, UAE, Russia and Saudi Arabia has been facing staunch resistance from GNA-aligned forces backed by Turkey and Qatar.