HomeLatest NewsCalm for the time being in the Libyan capital after clashes killed...

Calm for the time being in the Libyan capital after clashes killed 32 people

Armed groups exchanged gunfire that set several hospitals and buildings on fire starting from the evening of August 26

Armed groups exchanged gunfire that set several hospitals and buildings on fire starting from the evening of August 26

Flights resumed and shops reopened in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, on August 28 after clashes between rival government supporters killed at least 32 people and raised fears of a major new conflict.

Armed groups exchanged gunfire that set fire to several hospitals and buildings beginning on the evening of August 26, the worst fighting in the Libyan capital since a 2020 ceasefire.

A cautious calm was established by the evening of 27 August, a AFP Correspondents reported, and the Ministry of Health said on Sunday morning that 32 people were killed and 159 injured during the clashes.

The fight follows months of tension between supporters of Abdulhamid Dwibah and Fathi Bashagher, whose rival administrations are fighting for control of the North African country that has seen more than a decade of violence since a 2011 uprising.

Mr Dweibahar’s administration, installed in the capital last year as part of a UN-led peace process, has so far blocked Bashagha from taking office there, arguing that the next administration should be the result of elections.

Mr Bashagha was appointed by Libya’s eastern-based parliament earlier this year and is backed by powerful eastern military chief Khalifa Haftar, whose 2019 attempt to seize the capital by force turned into a year-long civil war.

Mr. Bashagha, a former interior minister, initially ruled out using violence to seize power in Tripoli but later indicated he might use force.

After a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed dictator Moamer Gaddafi in 2011, Libya plunged into chaos, with myriad armed groups and foreign powers moving to fill the power vacuum.

Some armed groups seen as neutral in the recent crisis moved behind Mr. Dibebah this weekend to delay Mr. Bashagher’s second attempt to enter the capital.

Both sides have blamed each other while world powers have appealed for calm.

The UN’s Libya mission called for an “immediate cessation of hostilities”, condemning the “indiscriminate medium and heavy shelling of civilian populated areas”.

On the evening of August 27, Mr. Dweibah posted a video surrounded by bodyguards greeting fighters who support his administration.

Dressed in a blue shirt and accompanied by his personal guard, he shook hands and took selfies with supporters.

“We will not leave this country in the hands of scoundrels,” he said in a video posted on his Twitter account titled “End the Aggression.”

On August 28, he said he would set up two committees to survey the battle damage.

Mr Debeiber’s government of national unity said the fighting had started after negotiations to avoid bloodshed in the western city.

Mr Bashagha denied such talks and accused Debeiba’s “illegitimate” administration of “holding on to power”.

Local media reported late on August 27 that a group of pro-Basagha militias en route from Misrata to the capital later turned back.

The fighting prompted several airlines to cancel flights in and out of the capital’s only functioning airport, and high school exams scheduled for the end of August were postponed.

But flights resumed and shops reopened on Sunday morning, while the University of Tripoli announced that exams scheduled for Monday would go ahead as planned, canceling earlier postponements.

On Saturday evening Mr Dibebah ordered both civilians and military to “arrest anyone involved in the attack in Tripoli.

A pro-GNU force from Misrata – the hometown of both Dwaiba and Bashagha – said on Sunday it had arrested several people involved in the attack.

But analysts said the crisis was far from resolved, with a shifting coalition controlled by a number of armed groups with capital described by analyst Wolfram Lacher as “an unfinished story”.

“The armed groups that found themselves on the same side in yesterday’s fighting in Tripoli will tomorrow clash over turf, location and budget,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Parties that were pro-Day yesterday will challenge him tomorrow.”

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