World Imprisoned pro-Haftar fighters freed in Libya
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Seventy-eight prisoners who fought on the side of eastern Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar in his year-long offensive against the capital Tripoli were released late Wednesday, according to an AFP correspondent at the scene.
The detained fighters were released at the end of a reconciliation ceremony organised in Jedaida prison in Tripoli that was attended by the minister of justice.
They were then reunited with their waiting families.
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The release comes on the eve of the Eid al-Fitr holiday that marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, traditionally celebrated by families gathering together.
Libya has been ravaged by bloodshed since the fall and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a NATO-backed 2011 revolt.
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An array of armed groups arose to fill the vacuum, and many coalesced around the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) or around Haftar, who backed an eastern administration.
In April 2019, Haftar launched an offensive to seize Tripoli from the unity government.
The two camps, each supported by foreign powers, fought for more than a year before Haftar was forced to retreat.
In October 2020, they signed a truce, setting in motion a UN-led process that saw a new transitional government installed.
In December and January, the two sides exchanged dozens of prisoners in accordance with the ceasefire terms, and at the end of March, 120 pro-Haftar fighters were released near to Tripoli.
The new executive is charged with organising national elections set for December 2021, but analysts warn that major stumbling blocks remain.
The Italian Government and the Migration Crisis | Opinion .
The implications of Italy's flouting humanitarian norms stretch far beyond the hundreds that continue to perish off the Libyan coast in the absence of a humanitarian presence. If humanitarian action is to be truly defended, acquitting the accused humanitarians is insufficient. The real criminal of the story must be brought to justice: Rome.Bill Drexel was a crew member aboard the Iuventa search and rescue ship off the coast of Libya in 2016 and 2017, and served on the 2017-2018 board of the Migration Society of Cambridge University.The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.