BRUSSELS

The EU on Tuesday called for an immediate and independent investigation into the mass graves discovered near Tarhuna, northwestern Libya.

In total, eight mass graves were discovered last week around Tarhuna, which was recently liberated from the militia loyal to warlord Khalifa Haftar.

More than 150 bodies, including women and children, were exhumed from the graves close to Haftar’s last stronghold.

“An immediate independent investigation should be undertaken to verify these findings and bring those responsible to justice,” Peter Stano, chief spokesperson of the EU External Action Service, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The EU warned all parties involved in the Libyan conflict to respect international humanitarian law and protect civilians.

The bloc also called for an immediate stop to fighting and return to the negotiation table to pursue a UN-led peace process.

Following the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya’s new government was founded in 2015 under a political deal led by the UN.

The government and the Western parts of the country have been under attack by Haftar’s forces since April 2019.

In March, the Libyan government launched Operation Peace Storm to counter attacks on the capital, and recently regained strategic locations, including the Al-Watiya airbase and the strategic city of Tarhuna.

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