On Monday, March 5, thousands of Libyans gathered in the former rebel capital of Benghazi to bury the bodies of 157 civilians and rebel fighters government officials discovered in a mass grave on Friday.
Libyan men carry coffins of victims discovered in the mass grave. Photo Courtesy The Houston Chronicle.
Omar al-Obeidi, head of the new government-run missing person’s office, reported that officials began excavating bodies on Friday and completed the excavation on Sunday. Officials have identified eighty bodies. All the bodies are from eastern Libya.
Most of the victims died between February and March 2011 from gunshot wounds and rocket strikes. Some people died via execution. Rocket attacks severely disfigured others.
Mr. al-Obeidi noted that before his office opened the graves to identify the bodies, it obtained a fatwa from the Mufti, Sheikh al-Sadiq al-Gharyani, and permission from Attorney General Abdelaziz al-Hassadi.
The government will return the identified bodies to their families for proper funerals.
A forensic team is collecting DNA samples and photographs from the unidentified bodies in an attempt to match this information with DNA samples at the ministry.
Libyans mourned for the deceased by holding a “Martyrs’ Parade” on Monday. Government officials escorted a caravan of twenty-three trucks carrying coffins, each draped in a Libyan flag, through the country’s eastern cities. Libyans held an Islamic prayer service in honor of the “martyrs” in Tahrir Square after the delivery of coffins.
Via Impunity Watch.