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Coalition accused of ‘crimes against humanity’

(AFP) / 1 April 2011

TRIPOLI - The regime of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi on Friday accused the international coalition of “crimes against humanity,” saying it bombarded civilians, the government spokesman said.

The leaders of coalition countries which have carried out air and sea strikes on Libyan targets are “criminals” and “immoral” and have committed “crimes against humanity,” regime spokesman Mussa Ibrahim told reporters.

According to Ibrahim six civilians were killed on Thursday in the village of Bouargoub near the strategic oil city of Brega, east of Tripoli, where Gaddafi loyalists and rebels have been locked in heavy fighting.

On Friday doctors and AFP journalists reported that 11 people were killed, including eight civilians, in three three days of fighting between rebels and Gaddafi forces around Brega.

A doctor and a manager at the hospital in Ajdabiya, 80 kilometres (50 miles) east of Brega, reported five civilians were killed on Wednesday, three more on Thursday and three rebels died on Friday. Ten other rebels were wounded.

There were conflicting reports on the cause of the deaths, one claiming they died in Western-led air raids on Gaddafi’s forces and another that they were killed by Gaddafi’s troops.

Neither account could be verified.

The Libyan government spokesman also accused coalition forces tasked with implementing a UN resolution to protect civilians and impose a no-fly zone on Libya of targeting checkpoints manned jointly by civilians and police along the 400-kilometre (244 miles) road between Sirte and Ajdabiya.

The coastal city of Sirte is Gaddafi’s hometown while the eastern city of Ajdabiya is held by the rebels.

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