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Campus battleground

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

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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.

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Hema Photography

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

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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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”.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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