Libya: Missing journalist’s body may have been found

The body of a South African journalist missing in Libya since the height of the conflict may have been found, according to a report in a South African newspaper.  Photographer Anton Hammerl (above) went missing after being shot by militia loyal to then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi near the town of Brega on April 5 last year. The reports says that a mass grave is believed to have contained his body and that genetic material from the body has been sent to the headquarters of the International Commission for Missing Persons (ICMP) in Sarajevo. ICMP has been working with the new authorities in Libya to support them in DNA testing of human remains, a capacity that does not exist within Libya, to identify the Missing.

This one case emphasises how much remains to be done in Libya to address the needs of the families of the many thousands that went missing during the conflict that saw the fall of the Gadaffi regime. Whilst most of the Missing are likely to be Libyan, many are not: migrants from sub-Saharan Africa were actively targeted by some elements during the conflict and many non-Libyans were fighting for the Gadaffi forces. When killed these foreigners were most likely to be left on the battlefield and as such remain missing. Whilst the Libyan authorities have tried to put in place structures to aid in the identification of the Missing, the work remains in its infancy.