September 19, 2020

Libyan estimate: At least 30,000 died in the war

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TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) — At least 30,000 people were killed and 50,000 wounded in Libya’s six-month civil war, the interim health minister said, offering a first detailed estimate of the high cost in lives of bringing down Moammar Gadhafi.

There have been rough estimates in the past, but Naji Barakat, the health minister in the new Libyan leadership, said his figures are based, in part, on reporting from hospitals, local officials and former rebel commanders.

Barakat said he’ll only have a complete count in several weeks, but that he expects the final figure for dead and wounded to be higher than his current estimates. Libya has a population of just over 6 million.

At least 4,000 people are still missing, either presumed dead or held prisoner in remaining Gadhafi strongholds, including his hometown of Sirte, Barakat told The Associated Press on Wednesday. Others killed in fighting were hastily buried, and are now being exhumed for identification.

Search teams also continue to find secret graves of detainees killed by retreating Gadhafi forces.

Just this week, they dug up more bodies in one area of the Libyan capital Tripoli and two other towns.

Of the estimated 30,000 dead, about half are believed to have been Gadhafi’s fighters, Barakat said.

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