Rights group urges halt to 'systematic destruction' of Libyan town that had backed Gadhafi

An international rights group is urging the Libyan government to halt what it describes as "systematic destruction" of a town whose residents had backed Moammar Gadhafi during the country's civil war.

The town of Tawergha was used as a staging ground by Gadhafi's forces to launch attacks on the nearby besieged town of Misrata.

After rebels broke the siege of Misrata and overran Tawergha, the town's 40,000 residents fled or were driven out by vengeful rebels.

Human Rights Watch said Wednesday that recent satellite images show "arson and targeted demolitions" of Tawergha.

The New York-based group says this is intended to prevent residents from coming back.

More than 18 months since the end of the conflict that ousted Gadhafi's regime, Libya is awash with weapons, roaming militias, violence and instability.