Vatican City, Jun 14, 2020 / 06:30 am
Pope Francis expressed “great apprehension and sorrow” Sunday after eight mass graves were discovered in Libya amid the ongoing civil war.
“I urge international bodies and those who have political and military responsibilities to recommence with conviction and resolve the search for a path towards an end to the violence, leading to peace, stability and unity in the country,” Pope Francis said in his Angelus address June 14.
The United Nations announced this week the discovery of at least eight Mass graves in Tarhuna, Libya, 62 miles southeast of the capital in Tripoli.
“I am following the dramatic situation in Libya with great apprehension and sorrow. It has been present in my prayer in recent days,” the pope said.
The pope’s prayer comes a day following the UN Secretary General António Guterres’ call for a “thorough and transparent investigation” to identify the victims and bring the perpetrators to justice. It remains unclear when the killings occurred, according to the New York Times.
Libya’s civil war started in 2014 after disputed elections when rebel commander Khalifa Hifter led the Libyan National Army on a military offensive against the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord led byPrime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.
Libya has the largest oil reserves of any country in Africa, increasing the stakes for a number of foreign powers who have become involved in the conflict.
Hifter is backed by Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, while Al-Sarraj's administration is supported by the U.N., Turkey, Qatar, Italy, and the United States.