According to the Libyan Ministry of Health, violent skirmishes between opposing Libyan militias have resulted in at least 23 fatalities and 140 injuries.
Overnight, fierce combat broke out in the capital as various loud explosions echoed around the city and competing forces traded furious gunfire. Social media is awash with images and videos documenting the extent of the fighting, which left dozens of residential buildings destroyed as well as several cars that were smashed and set on fire.
Following the 2011 NATO-supported uprising against Moammar Gadhafi, Libya has been divided between warring factions since 2014.
The conflict “was triggered by a military group firing randomly at a convoy passing in the Zawia Street area, while armed groups were gathering at the 27th gate west of Tripoli and the Jobs Gate south of Tripoli,” the UN-backed Government of National Unity (GNU) wrote on its official Facebook page.
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Abdulhamid Dbeibeh, the leader of the GNU and interim prime minister of the nation, is based in Tripoli in western Libya. The rival government, led by Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha, is headquartered in the parliament building in Tobruk, in the east of the nation.
Bashagha has been attempting to invade and seize control of Tripoli while claiming that the GNU is impermissible and needs to be removed. The GNU rejected this and insisted that elections should be used to peacefully transfer power, not through coercion.
According to Libyan News Agency LANA, the official news agency of the internationally recognized government, the municipality of Tripoli held both the UN-recognized Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army accountable for the deteriorating situation in the capital.
Additionally, it urged the protection of civilians by the global community, according to LANA.
On Saturday, Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, demanded an “immediate cessation” of the violence.
“The Libyan parties are urged by (the secretary-general) to engage in sincere communication to resolve the current political impasse rather than resorting to violence. He also urges the parties to safeguard innocent bystanders and abstain from any actions that might up the ante and widen rifts “Stéphane Dujarric, the secretary-spokesman, general’s stated.
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نهاية العدوان واحدة. pic.twitter.com/2Dge7Y2WgH
— عبدالحميد الدبيبة Abdulhamid AlDabaiba (@Dabaibahamid) August 27, 2022
The hard-won stability of Libya is increasingly in jeopardy, and Dujarric stated that the UN “remains ready to provide good offices and mediation to help Libyan actors chart a way out of the political deadlock.”
According to a tweet from the US Embassy in Libya, US Ambassador to Libya Richard B. Norland stressed the significance of “avoiding violent conflicts in Tripoli.”
The embassy tweeted on Saturday that Norland said he and Menfi, the president of the Presidential Council, talked about the need for de-escalation on Friday.
We also agreed on the urgency of taking action to increase openness and accountability in the management of Libya’s oil earnings, the tweet continued. “We agreed on the urgent necessity to finalize a constitutional basis and proceed toward elections,” it said.
In a tweet posted on Saturday, the UNSMIL expressed its “deep concern” over ongoing armed clashes in Tripoli that have included “the indiscriminate medium and heavy shelling in civilian-populated neighborhoods, reportedly causing civilian casualties and damage to civilian facilities, including hospitals.”
The tweet continued, “The UN calls for a swift end to hostilities and reminds all parties of their responsibilities under international humanitarian law and human rights law to protect civilians and civilian property.”