At least ten killed, 25 injured in militia clashes in Libyan capital

At least ten people, including a child, and 25 have been injured in clashes in the last few hours in Libya’s capital, Tripoli, staged by warring militias amid rising tensions over the political crisis and deepening economic crisis.

The attacks involve two groups: the so-called RADA Special Deterrence Force (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 Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade (BRT), led by Ayub Abu Ras, akin to the Unity Government in the capital.

‘Libya Observer’ portal sources have indicated 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.

The spokesman of the Tripoli ambulance service, Osama Ali, has detailed in statements granted to the Libyan television channel Al Ahrar that the fighting has taken place in the areas of Zauiya al Dahmani, Al Furnaj and Ain Zara, according to the daily ‘The Libya Observer’.

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After a few hours of calm, fighting started again this afternoon in the latter area. Many people caught in the middle of the fighting have sought refuge in wedding halls and several residents of Ain Zara are calling 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 calling 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 elections scheduled for December 2021. The eastern-based House of Representatives thereafter 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 it 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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