By Asma’u Ahmad
The United Nations on Wednesday called on all parties to the conflict in the eastern city of Derna to allow civilians have access to health services.
“Civilians in Derna are desperate for health care,” the mission wrote on Twitter on Wednesday, adding that the city’s only functioning hospital closed on June 5.
“Civilians are not a target and must have safe passage out of the conflict area and access to health services,” the UN mission in Libya said.
In recent weeks, eastern commander of the self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, has carried out a military operation to take control of the city from his rivals.
Derna, which has 125,000 residents, is the only city in eastern Libya that is not controlled by Haftar’s forces. It is controlled by a coalition of Islamist militias known as the Derna Mujahideen Shura Council.
On Monday, Haftar said in a televised speech that his forces took control of several neighbourhoods inside and outside Derna. He added that the second stage started “to free the whole city of terrorist groups and restore security and stability.’’
Haftar is aligned with an administration in the eastern city of Tobruk, one of three governments in Libya.