In the line of fire

Unicef is very concerned about the impact of violence on children in the ongoing conflict in Libya. "We know that children are even victims of snipers," said our site interview, Rudi Tarneden of the UN Children's Fund said.

Fear and despair increasingly spreading, Tarneden concludes from reports of Libyan refugees. The supply situation of the people in embattled cities such as Bengasi is poor. "Relief supplies have been brought to the city, but people have no way to get them," Tarneden said Wednesday.

"There are mines, there are unexploded ordnance"
The conflict in Libya is being carried out with a considerable potential for violence on the backs of the civilian population, they said. Reports made the rounds of thug troops and sexual assaults. "There are mines, there are unexploded ordnance, unexploded cluster munitions (ed. d. Red.: cluster bombs), i.e., a considerable threat potential especially for the youngest."Most of the victims are in the under-ten age group.

Unicef calls for immediate access for aid agencies to all affected areas. Tens of thousands of children are at risk in Libya alone, it said. There is a lack of water, food and medicine. Although they were able to bring medicines and technical equipment to Misrata last week in cooperation with other UN organizations, they were not able to do so. According to Unicef, the situation in the city, which has been besieged by government troops for 50 days, continues to deteriorate. At least 20 children have been killed in the fighting, he added.

"No conflict justifies children being targeted"
Children also suffered from violent clashes in other Arab crisis states. In Yemen, at least 26 children have been killed and more than 800 injured since unrest began in February, according to Unicef; in Syria, at least nine children lost their lives to the crackdown by security forces; young schoolchildren are also among the victims in Bahrain, the aid agency said.

"In North Africa and the Middle East, girls and boys are dying from bullets and grenades. 'No conflict justifies children being targeted,' Christian Schneider, executive director of Unicef Germany, said in Cologne on Wednesday.

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