16 killed in militia clashes in Libya’s capital city

At least 16 people have been killed and 34 injured in clashes that began Thursday night in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, and staged by warring militias amid rising tensions over the political crisis and deepening economic crisis.

The spokesman of the Emergency and Ambulance Service, Osama Ali, has reported an increase in the number of victims in the updated balance of Friday night, as reported by the media ‘Alwasat’.

The figures increase by six fatalities and nine injured, compared to the latest data. Among the dead, there are at least six civilians and one child.

The attacks involve two groups: the so-called Special Deterrence Force of RADA (FED-RADA), led by Abdul Rauf Kara, former fighters against Gaddafi and now reconverted into a parapolice force, who have launched a large-scale attack on sites controlled by the Revolutionary Brigade of Tripoli (BRT), led by Ayub Abu Ras, akin to the Unity Government of the capital.

‘Libya Observer’ portal sources have indicated that the clashes began following the kidnapping of a senior RADA commander by a group affiliated with the Revolutionary Brigade, two militias operating within the welter of armed groups swarming Tripoli practically since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011.

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After a few hours of calm, fighting resumed on Friday afternoon in the latter area. People caught in the middle of the fighting sought refuge in wedding halls and several residents have called for a safe corridor to escape the fighting as shells fall indiscriminately on residential areas.

For its part, the Presidential Council has issued a statement in which it called on the parties to “end the fighting and return immediately to their positions”, before calling on the Prosecutor’s Office to “open a thorough investigation into the causes of the clashes.”

“The ministries of Defense and Interior of the national unity government must take the necessary measures to impose security in the capital,” he has indicated, just days after senior military officials of the clashing administrations held a rare meeting in Tripoli in which they called to proceed with the unification of the chain of hand to try to move towards a solution to the crisis.

The talks on the military track are part of a three-track process pushed to try to end the conflict in the country, deepened after the postponement of the presidential election scheduled for December 2021. The eastern-based House of Representatives subsequently affirmed that the term of unity Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibé had expired and appointed Fazi Bashaga as his replacement.

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The unity government has rejected the decision of the House of Representatives, which is a setback for the efforts to end the conflict, and has maintained that Dbeibé will remain in office to implement its new ‘road map’, which envisaged the holding of legislative elections in June, preceded by a constitutional referendum to generate a legal framework for the holding of the elections, although this has not taken place.

Dbeibé was elected as prime minister by the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) in February 2021, thus replacing the hitherto unity prime minister, Fayez Serraj, who agreed to cede his powers following the consultation process, initiated after a ceasefire agreement after the Tripoli authorities rejected the military offensive launched in April 2019 by General Jalifa Haftar, aligned with the authorities based in the east.

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