A new execution video has emerged of 20 captives in Guantanamo-style orange jump suits gunned down by masked men ordered by a man that is believed to be Mahmoud Werfalli, a controversial Saiqa Special Forces commander in the Libyan National Army (LNA).
The video emerged this week and shows 18 hooded men in orange jumpsuits arranged into four lines kneeling on the ground before the leader of the armed men orders five men wearing balaclavas to stand behind the captives. The man then commands his men to shoot the captured men in the back of the head and then their bodies.
Holding a document the commander then appears with two other gunmen and shoots the last of the prisoners with a gun in his left-hand which observers have used to confirm the man is indeed Werfalli due to him being known to be left-handed in previous videos identified by UN human rights investigators.
The theme tune for Hollywood film The Pirates of the Caribbean is the choice music for the execution video, the fifth one of its kind to surface with Werfalli.
Werfalli offered his resignation in May this year after the first three videos in which he was widely identified surfaced. However, his resignation was rejected by Saiqa Special Forces Commander Wanis Bukhamada who instead promoted Werfalli from captain to Major.
The UN called for Werfalli’s suspension last week while the LNA carries out an investigation into the footage but the LNA has maintained that every one of its soldiers is innocent until found guilty. Despite this, the LNA rounded up 70 of soldiers it believed to be “traitors” for feeding information about the army to “enemy” groups.
Human Rights Watch today called for an immediate investigation into the latest execution video.
This latest mass execution, if confirmed, would be one more in a string of atrocities committed by members of the Libyan National Army forces and is yet another manifestation of how its members are taking the law into their own hands
Eric Goldstein, Middle East and North Africa deputy director for Human Rights Watch, told Reuters.
The handcuffed and blindfolded prisoners are yet to be identified but they are believed to have been captured by Saiqa Special Forces involved in the final stages of the fighting in Sidi Akribesh 19 days after armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Haftar announced on television the final victory over Benghazi’s militants.
Earlier this year, footage showing militants being summarily executed and bodies of militant leaders exhumed, mutilated and dragged through the streets of Benghazi by LNA soldiers sparked outrage of war crimes committed.