Libyan militias clash in Tripoli following the capture of a commander


55 people have been killed and 146 injured in clashes between two strong militias supporting the UN-backed government of Libya in the nation’s capital, Tripoli, according to medical personnel.

The city’s main airport was forced to close due to the intense violence, which broke out on Monday and continued into late Tuesday.

Fighting only stopped after a commander whose incarceration started it was released by one side.

After long-time leader Col. Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed in 2011, Libya is now in a state of political instability.

Currently, the nation is divided practically between a temporary, internationally recognised administration in Tripoli and another in the east.

A truce in 2020 has contributed to some degree of peace, but ingrained factionalism on all sides always poses a threat to disturb it.

The most recent conflict occurred in Tripoli, where Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah is in charge of the government.

A senior commander from the 444 Brigade was detained on Monday as he attempted to leave the airport by the Special Deterrence Force, which has control of the facility.

The leader had previously served as an officer in the competing militia, according to the Reuters news agency.

Battles broke out in various areas of the capital, notably Ain Zara in the southeast, trapping many residents inside their homes.

3 field hospitals were established to care for the casualties, 60 ambulances were dispatched, and 234 families had to be evacuated from frontline areas, according to Libya’s Emergency Medicine and Support Centre.

The commander was released to a “neutral party” when the prime minister intervened, according to the AFP news agency.

He later took a tour of the impacted neighbourhoods to gauge the extent of the harm.

Later on Wednesday, the airport reopened, according to AFP.

Concerned about the potential effects of these developments on the ongoing work to prepare for elections that were delayed two years ago, the UN mission expressed alarm.

“All parties must preserve the security gains achieved in recent years and address differences through dialogue,” its statement said.


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