Irresponsible Misrata rebels use hospitals as their headquarters

Posted on 13 August 2011


@antiwar_soldier recently brought my attention to a video that was uploaded back in May. In a television show, two Ukrainian medical staff who have been evacuated from Misrata give a first-hand account of the situation in the war-torn Libyan city.

The most interesting part of the video for our purposes begins at 8:56, when former Prosecutor General of Ukraine Svyatoslav Piskun asks the Ukrainian doctor about who attacked the hospitals.

The most interesting facts here are:

  • Rebels have repeatedly used major hospitals in the city of Misrata as their military headquarters and press centers.
  • A former polyclinic referred to as Ujama was heavily attacked and medical staff were evacuated in weeks 3-4 into the conflict. It was used as a rebel headquarters at the time.
  • After the destruction of Ujama, the press center and headquarters of the rebels were moved into Al Hekma hospital.
  • Medical staff in Misrata haven’t been paid their salaries since the rebels took control.
  • There is no problems with the payment of salary or with violence for medical staff working in Al Khums, a town 100km west of Misrata. That’s because Al Khums is held by Gaddafi forces.
  • Most Ukrainian foreign medical staff have fled Misrata during the conflict, despite grim prospects for jobs with comparable salaries at home.

The Ukrainian doctor describes the rebels in control of Misrata:

  • Rebels don’t understand what safety means (for a hospital): the new hospital management failed to take responsibility for the medical staff’s safety.
  • “Rebels don’t understand what they’re doing. It’s as if they’re playing. They shout Allah Akbar all the time. Every single shot makes them happy.”

Possibly related is an amateur film that shows the inside of a destroyed hospital in Misrata. The movie’s title is “Misurata hospital damaged in fighting”. I’m thinking this could be the Ujama hospital that the Ukrainian doctor talked about:

Maybe related is this this picture taken by German photographer Marcel Mettelsiefen, which I took from this photo series. The original caption of the image says: “The rebels have posted sharpshooters throughout the city. This man is taking aim from the window of a hospital.” In the image meta data, one reads: “Sniper sitting at the window of the old Al Sadriya hospital in the old town of Misrata.” The accompanying article is dated 20 April.

Some people on Twitter suggested that this is a picture taken inside a hospital that’s closed for renovation, possibly a branch of the Al Hekma. Is that true? Was this hospital closed already, or was it part of the polyclinic that was abandoned due to the heavy fighting?

Anyway, I wasn’t able to find the location or any more information on either Ujama or Al Sadriya hospitals on the web. If you happen to know where the video or the photo were taken, let me know: comment on this post, or send me an email:

Posted in: Africa, All posts, Libya