Renewed Fighting In Libia Claims At Least Three Deaths
Libya has been teetering on the edge of chaos for months.
Intense clashes erupted between rival Libyan factions in Tripoli overnight, killing several people and shooting sporadically continued through the morning, a sign of the instability surrounding a political standoff.
The main sides involved were both affiliated to the Presidency Council, and included the RADA force, an Interior Ministry spokesperson said.
Fighters from RADA, one of the most powerful forces in Tripoli, were visible around most central areas on Friday morning, while the main Presidency Council building was empty.
The Interior Ministry spokesperson said three civilians were killed but had no information on casualties among the armed factions. A witness at a hospital said he had seen six bodies. Local television stations reported at least 10 dead.
The shooting began suddenly before midnight and lasted for hours. On Friday morning, after a period of calm, a Reuters journalist in Tripoli heard further exchanges of fire.
What is the reason for the clashes?
The biggest protests for years occurred earlier this month in cities across Libya controlled by rival factions, underscoring popular anger over the lack of elections and poor state services.
Afterwards, factions in several cities detained people suspected of involvement, prompting the U.N. Libya mission to express concern on Thursday.
A blockade of oil output by groups aligned with eastern commander Khalifa Haftar had meanwhile cut off funding to Dbeibah’s government.
But last week Dbeibah appointed a new state oil company chief, said to be an ally of Haftar, leading to a swift end of the blockade.
That prompted reports of a deal between Haftar and Dbeibah to keep him in power and hope for an extension of 2020 ceasefire.
Western Libyan armed factions battled Haftar during his assault on the capital from 2019-20 and refuse to accept him having influence in Tripoli – something that previously counted against Bashagha but may now also be a problem for Dbeibah.