Serraj Ministry of Health condemns Hafter targeting of field hospital

North Africa

The Government of National Accord’s (GNA) Ministry of Health has reported that its Swani field hospital was the subject of an LNA air strike.

The Crises and Emergencies Committee of the pro Faiez Serraj Ministry of Health condemned the targeting yesterday morning of the Swani field hospital, located 25 km south west of Tripoli.

The Committee ‘‘strongly condemns the direct and unethical targeting of the field hospital’’, which It reported was bombed by an ‘‘aggressor air force’’, wounding two paramedics and a field doctor, and damaging part of the hospital building its medical supplies and equipment.

The implication by the ‘‘aggressor forces’’ is that the field hospital was struck by pro Khalifa Hafter forces.

Fawzi Onees, the head of Crisis and Emergency at the Serraj Ministry of Health, said ‘‘these horrific violations, which break and violate all domestic and international humanitarian laws, are added to the record of unjustified attacks on the health sector and its employees from early April (the date of the launch of Hafters attack on Tripoli), which puts medical crews and the paramedics at risk and increased the suffering of patients. “

Onees pointed out that from the beginning of the attack on the capital, doctors and health workers were martyred in the course of their national and humanitarian duties and several ambulances were destroyed and directly targeted.

Furthermore, he explained that the health sector with its various health centres, including field medicine and support, is obliged to provide aid to the injured and wounded in the clashes, and to secure the medical needs of the displaced, and to evacuate the civilians stranded from the clash sites.

The repeated targeting of health cadres, their equipment and locations of work, is devoid of any excuse, and exacerbates the daily suffering of the nation’s people, who find in it shelter to relieve their suffering while many have reneged on their duties.

The World Health Organization (WHO) also condemned the attack today. It also confirmed that a second field hospital, in Ain Zara,  was struck yesterday. Yesterday, the Serraj Ministry of Interior reported that the woods at the coastal road km 27 checkpoint / Jedaim area west of Tripoli was also struck leading to fire which burnt a large swathe of trees.

Today, it is reported that there was a second attack in so many days on the non-military section of Mitiga airport, Tripoli’s only functioning airport. Yesterday, the Hafter side had admitted that it struck what it called a ‘‘Turkish drone’’ which had landed at Mitiga.

It will be recalled that Libya’s National Oil Corporation had claimed that the 24 May fire at its Oil Clinic in the Gharghour district of Tripoli was caused by direct shelling of the health facility.

The NOC had called for an international investigation and prosecutions following what it called ‘‘this breach of international humanitarian law’’.

The NOC chairman, Mustafa Sanalla said: “The targeting of such a facility is a heinous act. Attacks on civilian infrastructure as well as the oil sector have unfortunately become an everyday occurrence. Only through God’s grace were patients and staff spared. A ceasefire must be called to put an end to this senseless violence.”

The Faiez Serra-led Presidency Council and Government of National Accord (PC/GNA) had also condemned an airstrike on the Rixos complex in Tripoli that had been the seat for the breakaway group of House of Representative (HoR) members opposed to Hafter and his attack on Tripoli.

The attack had also been condemned by the Tripoli breakaway group of HoR members.

Both the UN and WHO have condemned previous attacks on health and non-military targets. On 9 May UNSMIL and the World Health Organization (WHO) condemned the previous day’s attack on an ambulance that was caught in the ongoing Tripoli fighting.

In its statement, UNSMIL had said that it was ‘‘appalled by the attack yesterday against an armoured ambulance in Gaser Ben Ghashir, seriously injuring the Director of Ambulance and Emergency Medical Services and two paramedics’’.

It had reiterated its previously made statement that ‘‘Attacks against health workers constitute a serious violation of International Humanitarian Law’’.

For its part, the World Health Organization had ‘‘condemned in the strongest terms’’ the attack on the ambulance that it said had left 3 health workers injured, one severely.

On the other hand, the Hafter side of the fighting have also claimed that the Serraj aligned forces had struck at non-military targets both within Tripoli and in Gharian.

Image: GNA Ministry of Health

Article: Libya Herald