Libyan Presidential Council Call for A stop to Tripoli Clashes

One of Libya’s rival governments on Friday called on militias to stop fighting, after clashes broke out in the country’s capital, Tripoli overnight, killing at least one civilian and forcing around 200 people to flee the area.

The Libyan Presidential Council in Tripoli said in a statement early morning Friday that all forces involved should go back to their bases immediately.

Malek Merset, a spokesman for Tripoli’s emergency services said that at least one civilian had died as a result of the clashes. He said roughly 200 people had been evacuated through a corridor the emergency service set up in the early hours of Friday. He called for calm so that more could be allowed to leave.

It’s the latest violence to threaten the relative peace after nearly a decade of civil war, and comes as the country is in a political stalemate between two rival sets of authorities. The divisions have sparked several incidents of violence in Tripoli in recent months.

The cause of the fighting that began late Thursday was unclear. Videos shared on social media showed local militia forces deploying and heavy fire being exchanged across the night sky.

Libya has for years been split between rival administrations in the east and the west, each supported by various well-armed militias and foreign governments. The Mediterranean nation has been in a state of upheaval since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising toppled and later killed longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

The country’s plan to transition to an elected government fell through after an interim administration based in Tripoli, headed by Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, failed to hold elections last year and the presidential council led by The postponement drove aground yearslong U.N.-led attempts to usher in a more democratic future and bring the country’s war to an end.

Dbeibah has refused to step down since then, raising questions over his mandate.

In response, the country’s East-based lawmakers have elected a rival prime minister, Fathy Bashagha, a powerful former interior minister who is now operating a separate administration out of the city of Sirte. An attempt in May by Basghagha to install his government in Tripoli also ended in clashes that killed one, after which he withdrew.


Arab Observer

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