As many as 141 people have died in an attack on an airbase in southern Libya, Reuters reported on Friday. The Third Force militia, which is loyal to the United Nations-backed government of national accord in Tripoli, attacked the airbase held by military strongman Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army, on Thursday.

Embarrassed by the scale of the damage caused, the government of national accord suspended its defence minister, al-Mahdi al-Barghati, and the head of the Third Force pending an inquiry. It also said it had not ordered the attack and condemned it.

The Brak-al-Shati airbase was a bone of contention between the two competing militias based in eastern and western Libya. The majority of those who died were soldiers of the LNA, but several civilians were also killed, The Guardian reported.

“The soldiers were returning from a military parade. They weren’t armed. Most of them were executed,” spokesperson of the LNA, Ahmad al-Mesmari said.

Since the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the African country has been torn apart by a bloody civil war. The western part of the country is controlled by the government of national unity, while the rival LNA has charge of the east. Neither recognises the other.