Kadhafi's men rocketing Misrata civilians: Amnesty

24th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

Troops loyal to embattled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi are using rockets packed with ball bearings to bombard civilians in rebel-held Misrata in the west, Amnesty International charged on Friday.

The rights group said in a statement that at least three civilians -- two women and a 14-year-old boy -- were killed recently when Grad rockets slammed into a residential neighbourhood of the port city.

"These rockets are indiscriminate weapons which cannot be directed at a particular target and their use may amount to war crimes," the Amnesty statement said.

Misrata is the rebels' most significant enclave in western Libya.

"Families in Misrata are once again living in fear of being killed as rockets rain down on their homes and it's impossible for the terrified residents to find safe shelter," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty's Senior Crisis Response Adviser.

The rights group said that after 14-year-old Ibrahim Ali Boushiba was killed in an attack on June 20, images of the rocket remains examined by Amnesty "show that it had been packed with ball bearings to maximise injuries."

"Such attacks much cease immediately. Colonel Kadhafi and those around him and in his armed forces responsible for ordering and launching indiscriminate rocket attacks on Misrata's residential neighbourhoods know full well that the victims will be civilians not involved in the conflict," Rovera said.

"They must realise that their actions may result in their being made to answer one day to the most serious of charges, of having perpetrated war crimes and crimes against humanity."

© 2011 AFP

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