THE BOMBING of a detention centre holding 600 refugees in the Libyan capital Tripoli last Wednesday killed at least 44 people and wounded over 130; the death toll is predicted to increase as bodies are still being retrieved and the wounded succumb to their injuries.
In all, about 3,000 migrants are estimated to be held in centres close to the one where the bombs fell. These refugees, predominantly from surrounding African countries who had travelled to Libya as a staging post for the dangerous crossing to the ‘safety’ of Europe, were a sitting target for the bombs.
Held in a detention centre that is located right next to a military camp and housed in a hangar adjoining a weapons store, they had no chance of escaping the carnage.
Indeed their detention centre, a prison camp for people whose only crime is to seek refuge from war, had been nearly hit two months ago, prompting warnings from aid agencies and the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) for their evacuation and that they faced danger from the fighting raging around Tripoli.
The bombing represents another stage in the war being waged by General Khalifa Haftar, widely held responsible for the air attack, to overthrow and take over from the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) headed by prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj, which is based in Tripoli.
Haftar heads the so-called Libyan National Army and has his base in the oil-rich east of Libya. He broke with Colonel Gadaffi and fled to the US in 2011 where he joined and was trained by the CIA to be sent back to Libya to aid the overthrow of the legitimate government.
In April, with the encouragement of the French government, Haftar launched a surprise attack on the puppet regime of al-Sarraj and marched on Tripoli.
Haftar and his group of armed militias are backed by the US’s closest allies in the region, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and France, while nominally al-Sarraj is officially recognised by the UN and has the military backing of Turkey and the support of Italy, Libya’s former colonial power.
The bloodbath that is taking place in Libya, which has cost many hundreds of lives already with thousands more being displaced, is between two reactionary forces, each backed by different imperialist powers fighting for control of Libya and its huge oil reserves.
While governments in Europe and the US have shed crocodile tears about the murderous atrocity committed against innocent refugees and condemned it as a war crime, it is the direct outcome of their war to smash up Libya and seize its oil wealth.
The campaign to destroy the advanced secular state of Libya under Gadaffi led to the mass bombing campaign by Britain and France in 2011 under the lying claim of ‘humanitarianism’.
As for the refugees who have been caught up in this war for oil, the majority of those who died and were injured had been consigned to this ‘hell hole’ as a direct result of the policies of the EU!
The EU trains and assists Libyan coastguards to intercept migrants and asylum seekers at sea and return them to Libya. Having created a hell-hole in Libya and inevitably causing thousands of refugees, the imperialist powers have carried out a blockade of the country to stop refugees from even attempting a dangerous sea crossing to Italy.
This year, the EU stopped sea patrols that rescue refugees and migrants fleeing from Libya to Europe, ensuring that thousands of people are left trapped in detention centres.
This blockade and the civil war between the two imperialist proxies Haftar and al-Sarraj have only one aim: to install a pliant government in Libya that will do as it is told by its imperialist masters and secure the oil wealth of the country for capitalist exploitation.
The only answer to imperialist war and to ending all the murderous atrocities it commits, is to smash imperialism through socialist revolution.
This means building sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International in every country to lead the world socialist revolution to victory.