August 23, 2019

Gaddafi forces using cluster bombs in Misrata

The price of defiance - a present to the people of Misrata from Uncle Muammar.

Pro-Gaddafi forces besieging the Libyan town of Misrata have been accused of using cluster bombs against anti-government rebels and civilians.

Human Rights Watch said one of its photographers had seen three mortar-launched projectiles explode over a residential area of Misrata.

The International Convention on Cluster Munitions adopted in Dublin in 2008 prohibits its 108 signatories from using cluster weapons because of the threat they pose to civilians.

Libya is one of the countries not to sign the convention. Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim denied the allegation that they are using cluster bombs saying “I challenge them to prove it.”

New York-based Human Rights Watch have done just that, alleging three projectiles had exploded over Misrata’s el-Shawahda neighbourhood on Thursday night.

The unexploded projectile was first discovered and photographed by a New York Times reporter, after which it was inspected by Human Rights Watch researchers.

The object photographed is said to be an MAT-120 120mm mortar projectile, which opens in mid-air and releases 21 sub-munitions over a wide area.

“Upon exploding on contact with an object, each submunition disintegrates into high-velocity fragments to attack people and releases a slug of molten metal to penetrate armoured vehicles,” Human Rights Watch said.

They also said the projectile it had examined had been manufactured in Spain. Spain is a signatory to the cluster bomb convention, but this projectile was manufactured a year before the treay came into effect.

Human Rights Watch Division Director, Steve Goose, said it was “appalling” that Libya was using such weapons, especially in a residential area.

“They pose a huge risk to civilians, both during attacks because of their indiscriminate nature and afterward because of the still-dangerous unexploded duds scattered about,” he added.

Human Rights Watch said it could not determine whether any civilians had been hurt by the cluster bombs which “appear to have landed about 300 metres from Misrata hospital”.

Rebels in Misrata have been holding out against by pro-Gaddafi forces for two months but have gradually lost ground. The tactic of hidingheavy weapons in populated areas has paid off for Gaddafi, with NATO aircraft reluctant to strike targets where there will be high civilian casualties.

Newswarped hates the use of cluster bombs because of their indiscriminate nature and the fact that there is always a few unexploded leftovers that curious children can find and play with.