Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

14 May 2012

Libya - Nato Denies Civilian Deaths Report

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has failed to acknowledge dozens of civilian casualties from air strikes during its 2011 Libya ... ( Resource: Libya: Unacknowledged Deaths

The North Atlantic Orgnaisation, NATO yesterday May 14, 2012 hit back at a report urging the alliance to investigate fully the deaths of civilians in air strikes in Libya last year, the BBC said.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) had said at least 72 civilians were killed in the strikes and the bloc needed to bear responsibility where appropriate. But NATO's spokeswoman, Oana Lungescu claimed that the campaign was conducted with unprecedented care and precision. She said NATO did everything possible to minimise risks to civilians. She however acknowledged that risks in complex military campaigns can never be zero.

She added that the alliance looked into each credible allegation of harm to civilians and confirmed that the specific targets struck by NATO were legitimate military targets. Aircraft from the US, UK and France conducted most of the 9,658 strike sorties last year, targeting forces loyal to Libyan leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

In its report published yesterday May 14, 2012, the US-based HRW said it had examined in detail evidence of claims of civilian deaths from eight separate NATO strikes. In one instance, it said a first bomb killed 14 people and a second, moments later, killed 18 more who had rushed to help victims.

The organization claimed it was acting to protect civilians under a United Nations Security Council mandate. But observers say there appears to be a reluctance on the part of Libya's rulers to hold NATO accountable for any civilian deaths that may have been caused by air strikes.

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