United Nations A/hrc/19/68

Targeting of residents of Tiji by the Nalut

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Targeting of residents of Tiji by the Nalut thuwar

  1. The main population of the Nafusa Mountains is comprised of Amazigh people. Tiji and Badr, on the other hand, are two towns largely populated by Arabs and perceived as loyalist by the thuwar. Qadhafi forces were based at a military area inside Tiji from 25 March 2011 to 15 August 2011 and the town was used as a base from which to attack other mountain towns, then under opposition control.

  2. Thuwar from Nalut took control of Tiji on 15 August 2011 as Qadhafi forces retreated. According to testimonies received, many town residents appear to have fled before the forces from Nalut entered. The Commission has received reports of looting and vandalising of houses and public buildings in Tiji at this time.685 Men found still within the town were reportedly beaten.686 Badr had also fallen to thuwar from Tripoli on 16 August 2011. The following day, thuwar from Nalut reportedly entered Badr and demanded that its remaining residents leave.687 It has been alleged that the Nalut forces killed three brothers who had remained in the town.688

  3. On 1 October 2011, approximately 300 armed fighters from the Nalut thuwar returned to Tiji. The alleged trigger for this was the shooting and killing of a married couple passing in a car at a checkpoint by a sister of the three brothers reportedly killed in Badr on 17 August 2011.689

  4. Reportedly, the attack began with the Nalut thuwar shelling Tiji with Grad rockets and mortars.690 The shelling led to at least 4 civilian casualties. In one incident a shell struck a house, killing two women and injuring three other people in the house including a nine year old boy.691

  5. Adult men appear to have been arrested, without a warrant or any reasons provided and taken to the Criminal Investigations building in Nalut. Their families were not informed of the place of detention.692 One interviewee told the Commission that he was detained with four of his male relatives at a checkpoint manned by Nalut thuwar as they attempted to enter Tiji.693 In a “Summary of Memorandum of events of Tiji and Badr (Area of Si’an)” compiled by the Tiji Local Council and delivered to various NTC representatives, the Council has listed 41 men detained on 1 October 2011.694

  6. The Commission has received reports of men from Tiji being beaten with rifle butts and kicked while in detention there.695 During the beatings, members of the Nalut thuwar allegedly said that those from Tiji were not from the mountains and the land they were on was not theirs to keep.696 According to the testimony received, the Nalut thuwar beat him about the face and told the five men that they were “Arab dogs” and that “this is not your land”.697 One interviewee told the Commission that was beaten with electric batons while being told that he and his community should leave Tiji.698 Interventions by the NTC and thuwar from Al Zawiyah and Zintan eventually led to the release of those detained.

  7. According to the Tiji local council, the Nalut forces, on entering Tiji, looted and destroyed public buildings and private homes.699 This included the destruction of schools and the hospital. Some buildings had “death to Tiji”, “Tiji rats” and “Lions of Nalut” written on them.700 According to information received, the petrol station was looted, its pumps were broken and it was set aflame.701 Parts of it appear to have been knocked over by an armoured personnel carrier.702 Another interviewee informed the Commission that the resulting fire spread to and destroyed neighbouring buildings.703 In a visit to Tiji on 19 January 2012, the Commission observed evidence of burning matching the account.

  8. In the agricultural land around Um-Al-Far, Nalut forces reportedly destroyed crops including 150 olive trees, a water well and a water wheel and barns and store houses.704 The Nalut thuwar also were said to have looted or destroyed a number of privately owned cars.705 In a complaint to the NTC, made by the Tiji local council, the council has listed 323 people as having their cars stolen or destroyed.706

  9. The Commission met with a representative of the Nalut military council who stated that the people of Tiji, “even the women”, fought with Qadhafi forces and had been given orders to “exterminate” Nalut and take over their lands.707 A copy of a list of 624 people from Tiji who had allegedly volunteered to fight with Qadhafi forces in July 2011 was given to the Commission.708 The representative also indicated that the problems between the people of Tiji, Badr and other nearby towns and the people of Nalut pre-dated the conflict and arose from that fact that the residents of these towns were not “indigenous” to the region, but had been relocated by the Qadhafi government on lands “that actually belong to Nalut”.709

Targeting of residents of Abu Kammesh by the Zowara thuwar

  1. The Commission has received multiple reports that between 26 and 28 August 2011, armed thuwar from Zowara entered the town of Abu Kammesh in western Libya and began to do house-to-house searches.710 One interviewee stated that, on 28 August 2011, he received a telephone call from a work colleague who was an Amazigh from Zowara who told him “you’re an Arab living on Amazigh land, we’re going to kick you all out”.711

  2. According to testimony received, one young man was killed and another seriously injured after being shot by armed men in Abu Kammesh on 26 August.712 The family were reportedly informed of the death by the Zowara military council who provided a photograph of the deceased, having already buried the body.713 The Commission heard from another interviewee who stated that, on 26 August, he had been arrested by armed men from Zowara at a checkpoint leading to Abu Kammesh and was taken to school in Zowara where he was held for 12 days.714 Reportedly, he was beaten while detained there.

  3. The majority of those interviewed left Abu Kammesh for other nearby towns, principally Zolton.715 Several of those interviewed stated plainly that those who left were Arab families for whom life had been “unbearable”.716 One interviewee noted that “those with connections with the previous Government were particularly targeted for reprisals, but all Arabs feel insecure there”.717

  4. The Commission heard consistent reports that when the families returned to Abu Kammesh, they found their houses looted with many of their possessions destroyed.718 According to one testimony, a member of the family returned to their house and saw that five apartments in his building had been looted, with televisions, airconditioners and furniture gone.719 The same interviewee stated that the beds had been urinated upon. Another interviewee told the Commission that when she returned to her house to pack her personal possessions, two men in civilian dress from Zowara entered the house and told her “we will live in this house, it is good that you are taking your things”.720 One man stated that members of Zowara thuwar were occupying his house and would not allow him to retrieve his belongings.721

  5. The Commission has heard multiple reports of Arabs from Abu Kammesh being fired from their jobs.722 One interviewee told the Commission that he has not been able to report to work as the Zowara thuwar are guarding the company.723 Reportedly appeals to the police in Zowara and the Zowara military council have not been fruitful.724

  6. The Commission met with members of the Zowara Military Council on 23 January 2012. Council members that, during the conflict, Zowara had been surrounded by Qadhafi forces fighting from predominantly Arab towns. They said that there are still armed loyalists in these towns and that the areas need to be cleared before they can be declared fully “liberated”.725 Members of Zowara military council also stated that people from the areas surrounding Zowara were not “indigenous”, that they were Arabs who had always discriminated against the Amazigh community.726

Targeting Misratans perceived as not having supported the Misrata thuwar

  1. The Commission received information that a number of people from Misrata itself were subject to a refusal to allow them to return to their homes after the conflict. These were people who had left the town prior to the fighting and seem to have been considered insufficiently committed to the revolution as a consequence.

  2. According to multiple interviews conducted by the Commission, families who left Misrata during the conflict returned to find their houses occupied and their belongings given over to those now occupying the houses.727 Another interviewee told the Commission that the person living in her house told her “you are traitors. You didn’t defend Misrata. You have no rights”.728 Attempts to appeal to the local council have reportedly been in vain. In one interview, a woman reported that she had been told by the local Misratan authorities that she would not be able to return to her house as “Misrata houses are revolutionary houses”.729 Another interviewee stated to the Commission that the local council told her “you better go to Al Khums, we don’t want you here. You have nothing here”.730

  3. The Commission has also heard from two separate interviewees that the children of these families are not being allowed to return to their schools in Misrata.731 Interviewees have also reported being fired from their workplaces.732

      1. Targeting of sub-Saharan migrant workers

  4. In its first report, the Commission detailed violations committed against migrant workers.733 All of those interviewed were from sub-Saharan African countries. It is clear that from the beginning of the uprising in February 2011, dark-skinned migrant workers were targeted – including being killed. The much cited cause of this has been the assumption that any dark-skinned foreigner was a mercenary in the Qadhafi forces. The evidence, however, suggests the attacks were fuelled by pre-existing discriminatory attitudes in Libya.

  5. The Commission continues to receive reports of sub-Saharan Africans, some long-term residents of Libya, being arbitrarily arrested and beaten in detention.734

  6. In or around October 2011, a Sudanese man, a long-term resident in Libya, was reportedly arrested, without the benefit of a warrant, by one of the Tripoli thuwar, the Dagshi brigade.735 He was taken to the brigade’s military camp where he was held for 3 days and beaten after which he was then transferred to one of the official detention centres in Tripoli where he remains.736 As of the Commission’s visit, he had not been interrogated, had not seen a prosecutor and no charges had been laid.

  7. In November 2011, a Chadian man, also a long time Libyan resident, was reportedly arrested in Tripoli, without a warrant, and taken to the Ghirarat Military Council building by the thuwar.737 According to testimony received, he was hung from a door and beaten with rubber hoses before being made to sit on the ground and beaten on the soles of his feet. The same source told the Commission that on the man’s third and final day there, a man from outside the building came in and subjected him to a mock execution – pulling the trigger of an unloaded gun that was in the interviewee’s mouth - before beating him on his feet and forcing him to crawl on the ground barking.738 The man was reportedly then transferred to Ein Zara, an official detention centre, where he was again beaten. In the interview with the Commission, the man displayed severe scarring on his back and his head and had difficulty walking.739

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