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February 25th, 2011
07:00 PM ET

Reports of torture, killing in Libya, says U.N. secretary general

CNN Wire Staff

Benghazi, Libya (CNN) - As clashes in the Libyan capital continued Friday between government security forces and anti-regime protesters, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters unequivocally: "The violence must stop."

His remarks came as state television was airing images of the embattled but defiant strongman urging viewers to defend the nation.

A man CNN will identify only as Reda to protect his identity said in a telephone interview that armed men dressed in plainclothes fatally shot his two brothers Friday as they were demonstrating against the government. Also killed were his two neighbors, he said.

"The bodies have been kidnapped from the street," Reda said. "My other neighbors told me they kidnapped the injured people in the hospital to somewhere, nobody knows (where). This is the perfect crime. He's hiding all evidence for every crime he has. This is the horrible situation that nobody knows."

More than 1,000 people have been killed, according to estimates cited Friday by Ban. He noted that the eastern part of the country "is reported to be under the control of opposition elements, who have taken over arms and ammunition from weapon depots."

At least three cities near Tripoli have been the site of daily clashes, and the streets of the capital are largely deserted because people are afraid of being shot by government forces or militias, he said.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's supporters "are reportedly conducting house-by-house searches and arrests. According to some reports, they have even gone into hospitals to kill wounded opponents," he said.

Accounts from the news media and human rights groups and witnesses "raise grave concerns about the nature and scale of the conflict," he said. He said they include reports of indiscriminate killings, shooting of peaceful demonstrators, torture of the opposition and use of foreign mercenaries.

The victims have included women and children and "indiscriminate attacks on foreigners believed to be mercenaries," he said, referring to reports.

Ban called on the international community "to do everything possible" to protect civilians at demonstrable risk.

Ban said there appeared to be a growing crisis of refugees, with some 22,000 people having fled to Tunisia and a reported 15,000 to Egypt in the past few days. For many, the trip has been a harrowing one.

"There are widespread reports of refugees being harassed and threatened with guns and knives," Ban said.

"The violence must stop," he said. "Those responsible for so brutally shedding the blood of innocents must be punished. Fundamental human rights must be respected."

He called for the Security Council "to consider concrete action."

Ban said he will travel Monday to Washington to speak with President Obama.

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soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Andrew Robins Bellevue Wa

    This is so rediculous for a man who is supposed to be leading his people is instead killing them. He needs to do what is best for his country and either die or leave!

    February 25, 2011 at 11:23 pm |
  2. Don

    I feel as though we need to help stop Gadhafi, but what can we do , as the world we can bare witness, this is our duty as human beings!

    February 25, 2011 at 11:02 pm |
  3. LARRY SAVOIE (CANADA)

    I think that sancitons is not going to do anything at all.Weither we like it or not we may have to do something more drastic.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:38 pm |
  4. Gallus Atangabeh

    Looking at the situation in Libya, I think the United States should interven because day after day many souls are being lost. And second i suggest let the UN sign a decree that all African leaders can be allow to stay in power only for a maximum of 5 years and not more than that. I belief by this method, it will help to prevent such out break like the one in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. How can one man be allow to stay in power for over 30 years and more? UN you gat to do something.

    February 25, 2011 at 10:36 pm |
  5. Annie Kate

    What concrete action could the UN Security Council take that would be a true detriment to the people doing the torturing, killing, etc. of innocent people? Especially what can they do in time to prevent a bloodbath? It always takes days even weeks and months for a bureaucracy like the UN to do anything? I don't think it will be much longer before the question is rendered moot and there are scores more dead.

    February 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm |
  6. Dylan Clarke

    Hello:

    I would like to emphasize that Libya was basically an American Colony before 1969. Also, Libya was under sanctions by the U.S. and Europe for many years. Also, there were many attempts made to kill Col. Kadafy, including a bombing by Pres. Reagan that killed Gadafy's daughter.
    So, what chance has Libya had for economic development?
    Also, the first images I saw of the riots in Libya were of violent protesters starting fires and breaking things. Now some are carrying another flag. These are not peaceful protest. I bet if I went out and started fires and breaking things and carrying another flag the police would try to shoot me too. I am an American and I can hardly breath because of the oppression here. I don't have a job, I don't have good health care, and our government and business hate the citizens of this country. Now, almost everybody but me wants to blame Col. Kadafy. Mubarak worked for American Imperialism. Kadafy works for African independence. These riots in Libya are caused by jealous rivals who want to take power for their own personal gain. I read a lot about African history, so I could say a lot more. But this situation is not being reported very well.

    February 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
  7. S. Weiss

    Serbians are experts when it comes to government propaganda, they are the only country that officially committed genocide and instilled concentration camps in the 1990s after WWII. It would not surprise me that live reports coming from Libya is that Serb special forces (JSO) are being used by Kaddafi to massacre innocent civilians.

    February 25, 2011 at 8:01 pm |