Bodies removed from mass grave uncovered in Libyan desert
Bodies removed from mass grave uncovered in Libyan desert Reuters

A mass grave containing 163 bodies of people who died during the 2011 uprising has been discovered in eastern Libya.

A Libyan committee for missing persons said the bodies were of rebel fighters and civilians who perished in the civil war that eventually led to the capture and killing of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

"The discovery of 163 bodies out of 400 missing from the regions of eastern Libya is an incredible achievement," Maher Warfalli, of the government-run committee of missing persons, told AFP.

Although Warfalli did not specify exactly where the grave was located, Omar Abdelkhalek Obeidi, chairman of the committee, said the bodies had been removed from a mass grave in the desert town of Bin Jawad, east of Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte.

"The bodies belong to rebels who lost their lives between February and March 2011 in Brega, Ras Lanuf, Bin Jawad and on the outskirts of Sirte," Obeidi said.

According to Warfalli, the United Nations and the Libyan ministry of martyrs helped remove the bodies, which forensic teams were trying to identify from lists of missing persons.

It has emerged that a militia based in Misrata was detaining two British journalists who had been working for Iran's English-language station, Press TV.

Faraj al-Swehli, commander of the Misrata brigade holding the journalists, said reporter Nicholas Davies, 37, and cameraman Gareth Montgomery-Johnson, 36, had entered the country illegally and were carrying "incriminating evidence".