from AHMED ZAYED in Tripoli, Libya
TRIPOLI, (CAJ News) – HUNDREDS of civilians are trapped in the ancient Libyan city of Derna after forces aligned to one of two competing governments defeated a rival faction.
At least four women and three infants are among those reportedly killed in the eastern port city since fighting began earlier this month.
The Red Cross disclosed no less than 59 civilians have been killed in Derna, whose population is estimated between 100 000 and 150 000.
Victims have been held hostage for at least a fortnight without access to food, water or medical care.
Hundreds of civilians have been detained.
Volatile areas are inaccessible to aid workers.
General Khalifa Hiftar’s forces, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), have taken over control of the city from the government that is recognised by the United Nations (UN).
Much of Libya is effectively under the control of local armed groups with ties to rival governments.
Maria Ribeiro, United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator for Libya, said affected populations were in dire need for sustained access to social and basic services, including health, protection, psycho-social support and electricity.
“Furthermore, there is a need for a mid and long-term intervention in term of development, social cohesion and peace-building,” Rebeiro said.
She warned of dire consequences to perpetrators of the humanitarian crisis in Derna.
Disorder has engulfed the North African country of more than 6,5 million people since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
– CAJ News