Middle East

In pictures: Libyan students celebrate graduation amid ruins

Photo from University of Benghazi’s Mass Communication School Graduation ceremony, held on 15 October, 2016. Courtesy of Hema Photography Image copyright Hema Photography

A Libyan university campus that was closed for more than two years because of intense fighting has just opened its doors for a series of graduation ceremonies.

The University of Benghazi's campus-turned-battleground became a base for so-called Islamic State militants and other jihadists in the city until a militia backed by Libya's eastern administration pushed them out in April.

Classes were suspended altogether in 2014, and resumed again last year, but at other locations in the city - which has made it difficult for students to complete their studies.

Image copyright Hema Photography

Students from the university's mass communication school posed in their caps and gowns on 15 October, with some battered buildings visible in the background.

Image copyright Hema Photography

Some students chose to pose next to missiles and other munitions left over from the fighting.

Image copyright Engineering School Facebook page

Since the 2011 uprising that ousted long-time leader Muammar Gaddafi, violence has affected the university. It was eventually shut down in mid-2014 as the fighting intensified.

Image copyright Engineering School Facebook page

Since April demining forces have been able to clear only 5% of booby traps planted by militants on the campus, so the buildings remain too dangerous for use, the privately owned news website Libya Herald reports.

Image copyright Engineering School Facebook page

The Facebook page of the University of Benghazi's engineering school posted photos from the graduation ceremony on 11 October, saying: "[The students] insisted that their happiness [be celebrated] within the university, despite the destruction it has sustained."

Image copyright Ali Alramly

One of the graduates, Nada, tweeted: "#Benghazi University is where both of my parents graduated, I'm proud to have graduated on the same campus."

Image copyright Hema Photography

Some tweets have used the graduation ceremonies to draw attention to the "steadfastness" of the city of Benghazi, Libya's second-largest city, using hashtags such as "Benghazi [is] life" and "Benghazi returns".

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