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Clashes erupt as armed groups break UN ceasefire in Libya capital

Libyan militia [Ahmet İzgi/Anadolu Agency]
Libyan militias [Ahmet İzgi/Anadolu Agency]

Clashes have erupted in the Libyan capital of Tripoli, breaking a UN mission-led ceasefire deal reached earlier this month, according to the Libya Observer.

Fighting broke out once again yesterday on the Airport Road between Liwaa Al-Summod forces led by former Libyan Dawn leader Salah Badi, and Central Security Department forces, led by Abdelghani Al-Kikli. Both parties have accused the other of being the first to break the ceasefire.

The clashes resulted in damage to several power units in South Hadba, creating a blackout from Tripoli to Ras Ajdair, before the power was gradually restored.

Tripoli University students taking their exams also faced disruption due to the violence, with many failing to reach their exam halls. Education Minister Othman Abdeljalil affirmed yesterday that exams would be held in safer areas, adding that the ministry will rectify the absence of the students who did not manage to arrive yesterday.

Fighting initially erupted in late August between the Seventh Brigade from the town of Tarhouna and two Tripoli-based militias, the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigades and the Nawasi, over the distribution of resources. At least 63 people were left dead in the clashes, hundreds injured, and an attack on the city’s only functioning airport caused all flights to be suspended.

READ: Tripoli demonstrations ‘on going’

A ceasefire deal was subsequently brokered by the UN Mission in Libya, although tensions continued to simmer between warring groups in the capital.

Since the protests against the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Ghaddafi in 2011, the country has faced chronic instability and violence.

In 2014, Libya split between rival camps with General Khalifa Haftar gradually emerging as the dominant figure in the east aligned with a regional parliament and government, and opposing the internationally recognised government in the western capital, Tripoli.

Foreign interference has also complicated internal divisions, with Haftar’s forces backed by Egyptthe UAESaudi Arabia and Israel. Whilst the UAE publicly supports UN resolutions, their backing of Haftar has been attributed to their desire to bolster the Libyan commander as an alternative to the Islamist forces in the region, thought to be backed by Qatar and Turkey.

READ: Rockets fired near airport in Tripoli, Daesh claims attack on oil company

The country has also seen the rise of militia units exploiting the lack of control of state institutions, making sudden clashes common in many districts.

In May, Libyan factions agreed to proceed with elections scheduled for 10 December, and the UN is leading efforts to stabilise the country in the run up to the vote.

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