Africa

'Dozens of bodies' at captured base in Benghazi, Libya

  • 30 July 2014
  • From the section Africa
Benghazi gunman Image copyright AFP
Image caption Rival militias have been battling for control in Benghazi

At least 35 bodies have been recovered from a Libyan military base that was overrun by Islamist-led militias, the Libyan Red Crescent says.

The special forces base in Benghazi was captured on Tuesday, after two days of intense fighting.

Libya has been gripped by a wave of violence involving the militias that spearheaded the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi.

The new parliament is reportedly going to hold an emergency meeting this week.

The parliament, elected late last month, was due to have met in Benghazi on 4 August.

However it will now meet on Saturday in the city of Tobruk, some 200 km (125 miles) east of Benghazi, the AFP new agency reports.

Abu Badr Biira, an MP quoted by the agency, said the venue for the meeting had been changed "in light of the dangerous situation".

Many Western governments - including the UK, France, Germany and the US - have already asked their citizens to leave the country. Several have also evacuated their embassies.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Firefighters have been battling to contain the Tripoli fuel depot blaze

Tripoli blaze

An officer from the special forces unit in Benghazi told reporters on Tuesday that the base was abandoned after heavy shelling.

On Wednesday, Red Crescent spokesman Mohamed al-Misrati told the AFP news agency that 35 bodies had been recovered at the base.

"But there are more," he is quoted as saying.

Reuters news agency reports that 75 bodies have been found since the fall of the Benghazi base, most of them soldiers.

At least 97 people have also been killed in fighting between militias battling for control of Tripoli's main airport in the past week.

The government has blamed clashes between the armed groups for starting a fire at a Tripoli fuel depot, and for preventing firefighters from putting out the blaze.

The militias reportedly agreed a ceasefire on Wednesday to allow the blaze to be brought under control.

Separately on Wednesday, a Filipino nurse was kidnapped and raped in Tripoli, the AFP news agency reports, quoting medical and security officials.

A Libyan health ministry spokesman, quoted by the agency, said Filipino staff working at hospitals in Tripoli were preparing to leave following the incident.