Human Rights Watch criticizes Libyan rebels
Libyan Rights Watch in a report Wednesday criticized Libyan rebels for not adequately protecting civilians in the areas they control in the conflict in their country, DPA reported.
HRW demanded that rebels should hold accountable those from within their own ranks found responsible for looting, arson, and abuse of civilians in recently captured towns in western Libya.
The organization said that in four towns captured by rebels in the Nafusa Mountains over the past month, rebel fighters and supporters had damaged property, burned homes, looted hospitals, homes, and shops, and beaten people suspected of supporting government forces.
HRW said that it itself had seen some of the acts, while learned about others through witnesses and talking with a rebel commander.
"Opposition leaders should halt and punish all rebel abuses," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The rebel authorities have a duty to protect civilians and their property, especially hospitals, and discipline anyone responsible for looting or other abuse."
In its report, HRW said that Colonel El-Moktar Firnana, the rebel military commander in the Nafusa Mountains had admitted that some abuses had taken place after rebels captured the towns.
The commander said such attacks violated orders issued to the rebel forces not to attack civilians or damage civilian property. He said some people had been punished, but did not give specifics.