Militants from ISIS in Libya, and one of its affiliated groups, have executed at least 34 people, highlighting the urgency of ongoing talks to form a new Libyan government.
ISIS affiliated social media accounts released footage depicting the execution of the murdered individuals, believed to be from Ethiopia.
The 29-minute video shows ISIS militants beheading a group of the hostages on the Libyan coast in the north, while other affiliated militants execute the remaining hostages through shooting in the south of the country.
The video marks the second time that ISIS militants have conducted mass executions in Libya.
Last February, ISIS militants in Libya executed 21 coptic Egyptians, leading to air strikes by the Egyptian government which killed nine Libyan civilians including four children.
The hostages, believed to be Ethiopian, are thought to be migrants who crossed into Libya to attempt to travel by boat into Europe.
Ethiopia’s foreign ministry announced that they would launch an investigation intended to verify the identities of the hostages.
The executions came after UN special envoy Bernardino Leon announced that the second round of talks aimed at forming a joint Libyan Assembly is almost concluded with a large level of mutual agreement.
“Eighty percent of the text in this draft is, let me put it this way, is something that the parties can agree,” Leon said.
“It doesn’t mean that there will not be fine-tuning on this 80 percent, 90 percent of the text, but it is something that the parties can agree. There are still elements which are in brackets, which are things that the parties need to further consult.” Leon continued, refusing to rule out further negotiations.
Leon stated that he hoped all parties would come back to the talks in two weeks’ time, having reached an agreement on how to complete the text forming the country’s new government. Armed groups within the country will meet in the coming week.
Libya is divided between two parliamentary bodies, the General National Council (GNC) in Tripoli and the rival House of Representatives (HoR) operating near the Egyptian border in the town of Tobruk.
Due to the internal turmoil in Libya, ISIS-affiliated elements have emerged in the eastern city of Derna.
Finding little to no opposition from HoR loyal forces attempting a military takeover of Benghazi since August, ISIS militants were able to move westward to Sirte where GNC loyal Dawn Alliance forces from the western city of Misrata engaged the militants.
As a result of the fighting, security checkpoints outside Misrata come under regular bombing attacks claimed by ISIS.