A raid on Sirte, once an Islamic State stronghold in Libya, has revealed harrowing details of life under the group’s rule.
Pro-government forces uncovered a stash of documents while fighting the terror group, also known as ISIL, for control of the city. Among the papers retrieved were marriage certificates which showed ISIL fighters offering explosive belts and guns as dowries for their wives, the AP reports. The documents, posted on the pro-government group’s Facebook page, belonged to ISIL’s ”Judicial and Complaints” department and were recovered from a courthouse in Sirte, which has been under the group’s control since August 2015.
Some of the brides involved in the marriages were Nigerian. In one of these instances, Miriam married Abu Mansour, a Tunisian who, rather than pay a dowry in accordance with Islamic customs, promised compensation “in form of an explosive belt.” Fatima, another Nigerian bride, was promised a gun in the event of a divorce or her husband’s death.
A Human Rights Watch report in May previously offered insight into life under ISIL in Sirte. Food, medicine, and fuel were diverted to fighters, leaving residents starving and sick. Amid executions and strict adherence to Sharia law, life in the city was described as “unbearable.”
The tide is turning against ISIL as pro-government forces in Libya have been engaged in a battle for control of Sirte, which was once regarded as the group’s largest stronghold outside Iraq and Syria. Over the past few months, with support from the US, Libyan militia have reduced the ISIL-held area in the city “to a single square kilometer,” according to military officials.