Gaddafi forces use cluster bombs: HRW

April 17, 2011 - 0:0

Human Rights Watch (HRW) says troops loyal to decades-long Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi have used cluster bombs to hit residential areas in the northwestern city of Misratah.

The organization said some Misratah residents suspected four cluster bombs had exploded in the Libyan city, the Guardian reported Friday.
“They (cluster bombs) pose a huge risk to civilians, both during attacks, because of their indiscriminate nature, and afterward because of the still-dangerous unexploded duds scattered about,” said Steve Goose, the arms division director of the organization.
In a statement, the HRW said, “The cluster monition is a Spanish-produced MAT-120 120mm mortar projectile, which opens in mid-air and releases 21 sub-munitions over a wide area. Upon exploding on contact with an object, each sub-monition disintegrates into high-velocity fragments to attack people and releases a slug of molten metal to penetrate armored vehicles.”
A spokesperson for the revolutionaries in Misratah said that he had heard “one big explosion followed by many smaller ones. It sounds like cluster bombs.”
He described the “candy bombs” as “something that resembles a pretty bottle. You pick it up, it explodes and kills you.”
“We never saw these injuries before. We need experts to assess
[the monition],” said a doctor at a Misratah hospital.
There has been no confirmed report of casualties related to the cluster bombs.
International aid agencies and human rights groups have warned of a growing humanitarian disaster in Misratah, Libya's third largest city.
The U.S.-led military alliance admits that its forces have killed dozens of civilians and opposition fighters in the ongoing aerial attacks on key Libyan cities.
A top NATO commander has recently said that the alliance has launched an investigation into the killings.
The airstrikes on crisis-hit Libya started on March 19 to enforce a UN-mandated no-fly zone over the North African country.
(Source: Press TV)