TRIPOLI, Libya, Aug. 29 (UPI) — A Libyan military brigade loyal to Moammar Gadhafi’s son Khamis allegedly slaughtered detainees at a warehouse near Tripoli, Human Rights Watch said.
The rights group said it discovered charred remains of roughly 45 bodies at a warehouse near Tripoli during the weekend. Two other corpses, unburned, were found outside near a military base in the Libyan capital.
Human Rights Watch said members of the Khamis Brigade likely executed detainees there Aug. 23. The warehouse burned three days later.
“Sadly this is not the first gruesome report of what appears to be the summary execution of detainees in the final days of the Gadhafi government’s control of Tripoli,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement.
After more than six months of NATO operations over Libya, rebel forces last week made important gains on Tripoli.
NATO, which last week said Gadhafi was “history,” started enforcing a U.N.-mandated no-fly zone over Libya in March. The U.N. Security Council approved of international military force to protect civilians from attacks by forces loyal to Gadhafi, accused early on by the International Criminal Court of war crimes.
U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in a statement posted on his Twitter account Monday said the allegations of atrocities in Libya are “sad, but not surprising.”
Whitson said the reports on the detainees and other accounts of extrajudicial killings amount to “serious war crimes.”