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US sanctions Libyan militia, leader loyal to Hifter

  • November 26, 2020

Nov 25, 2020

The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on a Libyan commander and his militia, which rights groups accuse of detaining, torturing and killing civilians in the war-wracked country.

The Treasury Department sanctioned the Kaniyat militia and its leader, Mohamed al-Kani, under the Global Magnitsky Act, which authorizes the US government to blacklist individuals who commit major human rights abuses or engage in corruption.

“Mohamed al-Kani and the Kaniyat militia have tortured and killed civilians during a cruel campaign of oppression in Libya,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. “The United States stands with the Libyan people and will use the tools and authorities at its disposal to target human rights abusers in Libya and across the world.”

The armed group, which is loyal to retired Libyan Gen. Khalifa Hifter’s self-styled Libyan National Army, had controlled the western city of Tarhuna until the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) recaptured it in June.

Government forces have since exhumed hundreds of bodies, including more than a dozen last weekend, in unmarked graves left behind when forces loyal to Hifter retreated from Tarhuna this summer. Some of the bodies appear to be women, children and elderly civilians who were tortured, burned or buried alive, Mnuchin said.

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