UN experts urge LNA affiliated forces to stop evicting residents and demolishing homes in Benghazi

Alwasat Staff Mon 04 Sep 2023, 10:04 PM
alwasat radio

United Nations-commissioned experts on Monday called for forces affiliated with the Libyan National Army's (LNA) General Command to stop evicting residents and demolishing their homes in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi.

The experts said in a statement that the LNA, commanded by Marshal Khalifa Haftar, has since March removed more than 20,000 residents from their homes “at a very short notice.”

They also said the destruction in the city center “is spreading in an alarmed manner,” with residents expelled and forced to give up their property or their ownership documents.

The demolition is part of a development project in the city, according to local reports.

“The intentional demolitions, including of historic neighborhoods, protected heritage sites and many residential units, have already caused irreparable harm to the urban architecture and living heritage of the city,” the experts said.

An LNA spokesman didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The experts said authorities in eastern Libya didn’t provide “any assistance” including compensations for affected residents, and that those who protested their removal were pressured or silenced through power cuts, harassment, and violence.

The impacted areas remained closed to the public, they said.

Alwasat reported earlier this year that the demolished buildings included Italian-style houses built during the Italian occupation of Libya in the first half of the 20th century.

Benghazi was the epicenter of the 2011 NATO-backed uprising which toppled longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi who was later killed.

The city has become the stronghold for the LNA since 2014, when the powerful commander launched a major military operation against militant groups and other armed factions. Much of the city's downtown area has been destroyed in the fighting.

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