UN appoints special envoy as Libya conflict threatens 'more carnage'

March 8, 2011 - 0:0

Tripoli, Libya (CNN) -- As deadly clashes in Libya continue with no clear end in sight, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appointed a new special envoy to Libya to discuss the crisis with officials in Tripoli, the United Nations said in a statement Monday.

Abdelilah Al-Khatib, a former foreign minister of Jordan, was appointed to ""undertake urgent consultations with the authorities in Tripoli and in the region on the immediate humanitarian situation as well as the wider dimensions of the crisis,"" according to the UN statement.
""The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the fighting in western Libya, which is claiming large numbers of lives and threatens even more carnage in the days ahead,"" the statement said. ""He notes that civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence, and calls for an immediate halt to the government's disproportionate use of force and indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets.""
On Sunday, opposition forces in Libya claimed a major victory, managing to block an onslaught by Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi's troops and maintain control of the key city of Misrata, an eyewitness said.
Using machine guns, sticks and anything else they could find, crowds successfully repelled Gaddafi militias armed with tanks and heavy artillery, the witness said.
""The will and the determination and dedication that people are showing here on the ground, it just makes you speechless,"" he said.
A doctor at Central Misrata Hospital said 42 people were killed -- 17 from the opposition and 25 from the pro-Gaddafi forces -- and that 85 people were wounded in the fighting, which continued on the city's outskirts. The youngest victim, 3 years old, was killed by direct fire, the doctor said.
Witnesses and other sources are not being named for their own safety.
Humanitarian and medical aid to the central Libyan city has been blocked, UN emergency relief coordinator Valerie Amos said in a statement Sunday. She urged authorities ""to provide access without delay to allow aid workers to help save lives.""
Fighting also raged Sunday in the town of Bin Jawad, where the sounds of booms -- either aerial bombardments or heavy artillery -- could be heard echoing. The opposition also worked to keep control of Ras Lanuf.