The situation is getting worse in the southern Libyan town of Murzuq, where intensifying clashes with air and drone strikes have left at least 90 people dead and displaced thousands of civilians, the UN said on Tuesday.
“Casualties on all sides of the fighting have continued as a result of airstrikes by planes and drones, indiscriminate rocket attacks and shelling, and direct fighting on the ground,” said Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA).
Among the casualties are two children who were killed when a strike hit a house where internally displaced people were sheltering on August 8. “It is a civilian area, it’s in a country where people tend – families tend – to be big and there are many children,” Laerke added.
The UN migration agency, IOM, said 9,450 people have been displaced by the violence in and around Murzuq since the beginning of August. At least 3,000 of them have been displaced in the past week as the violence escalates.
“Most families previously displaced within neighborhoods of Murzuq City have also left the town to nearby communities,” IOM said. “Reported displacements include around 300 migrants from Niger, Chad and Nigeria.”
The long conflict in Libya between the Government of National Accord and rival governments has escalated since April, when Libyan National Army leader Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive on Tripoli he said was necessary to stop terrorists. At least 1,100 people have died since the Tripoli offensive began, among them 106 civilians.