Mass graves in Sirte

The bodies of more than 250 people who are believed to have been supporters of ousted Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi have been found in Sirte, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The 267 bodies were found in recent days in the city of Sirte and its suburbs, according to the Quryna newspaper which cited Red Cross sources. It said most of the victims were people loyal to the regime of Gaddafi, who was captured and killed near Sirte last week.

The sources told the newspaper that the bodies were counted and photographed by transitional authorities before they were buried in mass graves near Sirte. Quryna reported that many of the victims appeared to have been executed.

According to the report, officials at the National Transitional Council (NTC) have pledged to conduct an investigation into the circumstances of the deaths and punish those responsible.

The news comes less than a week after 53 decomposing bodies were found in the garden of the Mahari Hotel in Sirte. Human Rights Watch said the victims were apparently supporters of Gaddafi and had been executed, possibly by anti-Gaddafi forces who were staying at the hotel.

At a different site in Sirte, Human Rights Watch saw the badly decomposed bodies of 10 people who had apparently also been executed. Their identities are unknown and Human Rights Watch was unable to determine whether anti-Gaddafi or pro-Gaddafi forces were responsible, although medical officials in Sirte said pro-Gaddafi forces had also carried out executions.

Human Rights Watch urged transitional authorities to investigate the executions. “The evidence suggests that some of the victims were shot while being held as prisoners, when that part of Sirte was controlled by anti-Gaddafi brigades who appear to act outside the control of the National Transitional Council (NTC),” said Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, on Monday. “If the NTC fails to investigate this crime it will signal that those who fought against Gaddafi can do anything without fear of prosecution.”

He added: “This latest massacre seems part of a trend of killings, looting, and other abuses committed by armed anti-Gaddafi fighters who consider themselves above the law. It is imperative that the transitional authorities take action to rein in these groups.”

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http://www.newkerala.com/news/2011/worldnews-94942.html

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