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Benghazi hospital holds grim evidence of uprising

posted 25 Feb 2011, 04:16 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 25 Feb 2011, 04:24 ]

Dozens of badly injured people are being treated at the 'Martyrs' hospital in Benghazi where the morgue is filled with mutilated and charred bodies.

As forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi launched a fierce counter-attack on rebels holding towns near the capital on Friday (February 25), Benghazi hospital was full of badly injured people and its morgue filled with body bags holding mutilated and charred human remains.

One doctor at the hospital said the remains were those of soldiers found at a local army base who had been found tied up and burned alive because they had refused to fight.

Benghazi, like towns and cities stretching across the eastern half of Libya, are no longer under the control of leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Many Libyans are celebrating the end of his 41-year rule in their region. But many are also counting the cost of recent fighting.

"I can give you the numbers of the martyrs since February 17th. On 17th there were 32 martyrs, on 18th February there were 47 martyrs, on 19th there were 41, on 20th there were 75 martyrs and on 21st there were 2 martyrs," Ibrfahim Biheeh, a surgeon at al-Shohadaa hospital, told Reuters.

There are no definitive figures for the dead in what was often a violent uprising against Gaddafi's rule in this area.

A pungent smell of disinfectant, mixed with the odour of charred bodies, hung in the air of Benghazi hospital, renamed "Hospital of the Martyrs".

In one area of the hospital morgue lay a collection of body bags, half opened. Eight charred bodies were exposed.

Fighting was fierce in parts of the city, particularly around a military base to the south to which Gaddafi loyalists had retreated.

Witnesses said troops fired on protesters from the inside. Now, most of the base's buildings are burned out shells.