Libyan authorities hold an exhibition to identify bodies

Libyan authorities continue to identify the names of victims found in mass graves in the city of Tarhuna and have launched an exhibition in Tripoli with the victims’ personal belongings.

The exhibition has been launched at the University of Tripoli Hospital’s Forensic Medicine Department. It contains clothing, underwear, jewelry, socks, photos and other personal belongings of 27 corpses engraved in Tarhuna.

Some of the clothing found in the graves includes children’s clothing, the Anadolu Agency (AA) reported, adding that the families of the victims must visit the site to identify their relatives and loved ones.

If they are identified, families or relatives of individuals in mass graves want to bury them and hold religious funeral ceremonies.

Abdulhakim Abu Name, president of the Tarhuna Families of Lost Families Association, told AA that his brother has been missing since November 14, 2019, when he was abducted by the al-Kaniyat militia. He noted that they visited the exhibition to find a trace of his brother but could not find anything.

“My brother Abu Bakr was a merchant; he had no business in state affairs. I told him to leave Tarhuna, but he told me he was not a soldier and was not involved in politics, Abu Name said.

He went on to say that the al-Kaniyat militia led by seven brothers was mainly targeting civilians, including women and children. He also noted that al-Kaniyat, a pro-Putch general Khalifa Haftar militia, targeted anyone who did not support him.

Libyan authorities have identified eight of 27 bodies recently found in Tarhuna and will hold second and third exhibitions to identify more bodies, according to Dr. Ilyas al-Hamrouni, Head of the Mass Excavation Delegation.

The exhibits serve as a secondary means of identifying corpses, in addition to the DNA samples, according to al-Hamrouni.

The city of Tarhuna, a gateway to Libya’s center and east, had for several years been controlled by the Kaniyat militia, run by the local al-Kani family, who fought alongside Haftar’s eastern illegal forces. It adopted the name Ninth Brigade when the militia merged with Haftar.

In November, the US Treasury Department sanctioned al-Kaniyat and its leader Mohamed al-Kani after finding it responsible for killing civilians whose bodies were found in many mass graves, as well as torture, forced disappearances and the displacement of civilians.

Since June, following the defeat of Haftar’s forces in the western part of Libya, the Libyan government has found about 300 dead bodies in mass graves in Tarhuna and south of Tripoli.

The Libyan government has been fighting against Haftar’s forces since April 2019 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

On October 23, the warring parties agreed on a ceasefire during UN mediation to pave the way for political dialogue and a solution. However, the Haftar militias have regularly violated the ceasefire.

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