UN concerned over clashes between rival militias in Libya’s capital
The United Nations has expressed concern over clashes between armed groups that have erupted in Libya’s capital amid a violent power struggle.
Heavy exchanges of gunfire and explosions were reported across several districts of Tripoli on Friday night, while images broadcast by local press and circulated on social media showed civilians fleeing heavily trafficked areas.
Local media reported medical sources saying four civilians were wounded in the clashes.
The intense fighting involved two influential militias from western Libya, according to local media, which identified armed groups as the Nawasi Brigade – a militia loyal to politician Fathi Bashagha – and the Stability Support Force, which backs interim premier Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
In a statement, The United Nations Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL) said it is deeply concerned about these developments, during an extremely sensitive period of political polarization which the United Nations, international partners, and concerned Libyans are making efforts to resolve, including through the talks.
The talks are aimed at establishing a constitutional framework to enable the holding of national elections at the soonest possible time.
The third and final round of the talks is scheduled to resume tomorrow, Sunday 12 June, in Cairo, Egypt.
UNSMIL has urged Libya’s political and security actors to exercise maximum restraint, demonstrate responsible leadership and address all disputes, both at the local and national levels, through dialogue. The Mission calls on all Libyans to do everything possible to preserve the country's fragile stability at this sensitive time.
Last month, Bashagha attempted to seize power by force, sparking pre-dawn clashes between armed groups supporting him and those backing Dbeibah.
Dbeibah was appointed under a troubled United Nations-led peace process early last year to lead a transition to elections set for December 2021, but the vote was indefinitely postponed.
Libya fell into chaos after the 2011 popular uprising that was hijacked by NATO leading to the killing of the country’s long-time ruler Muammar Gaddafi. For most of the past decade, the oil-rich country has been ruled by rival governments in the west and east, each of which has the support of armed groups and different foreign governments.