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Monday, April 18, 2011     GET REAL

Libya accused of using outlawed cluster bombs

LONDON — Libya's military is believed to have fired cluster munitions in its war against the rebels.


The U.S. group Human Rights Watch said forces loyal to Col. Moammar Gadhafi employed cluster munitions in attacks on the rebel-held city of Misrata, Middle East Newsline reported. The group's Cluster Munitions Coalition said the munitions were produced in Spain.

"Libya should immediately stop all use of cluster munitions," Cluster Munition Coalition director Laura Cheeseman said. "These banned weapons have horrific effects and the unexploded ordnance that will result will prolong civilian suffering even after the conflict has ended."

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The coalition, in a statement on April 16, said it collected evidence from witnesses on Gadhafi's use of cluster bombs. The cluster bombs were said to have been fired in mid-April.

HRW identified the Libyan cluster bombs as the MAT-120, fired from a 120mm mortar platform. The markings on the submunitions indicated that the bombs were produced in 2007.

Human rights groups said Gadhafi's forces have also used anti-personnel landmines against the rebels. Libya, which has denied the latest allegations, has not signed the treaties that ban cluster munitions or landmines.

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