Libya: Calm Returns After Deadly Fighting

Libya : return to calm after ;s deadly fighting

The fights did not spare the residential areas.

Calm returned to Tripoli on Sunday after clashes between armed groups in the Libyan capital left at least 32 dead and 159 injured, amid political chaos with 2 rival governments.

According to an AFP correspondent, most businesses reopened on Sunday, with flights that had been suspended the day before resuming at Mitiga airport, the only one serving the capital. The schools have announced that exams will be held on Monday, including the baccalaureate originally scheduled for Sunday.

But the damage from the bloody fighting that took place from Friday to Saturday evening is extensive and visible throughout Tripoli, with many buildings riddled with bullets and dozens of charred cars. Six hospitals were affected by the strikes.

Deadly clashes between supporters of rival governments in Libya damaged six hospitals of the capital.

Heavy gunfire and shelling rang out all Friday night and all day Saturday until dusk, in several areas of the capital, raising fears of a new war.

Two governments have been vying for power since March in Libya: one based in Tripoli and led by Abdelhamid Dbeibah since 2021, and another led by Fathi Bachagha and supported by the camp of Marshal Khalifa Haftar, the man eastern fort.

The clashes ended in the defeat of Fathi Bachagha's attempt to dislodge his rival's government, according to local media and experts.

Armed groups considered neutral in this political standoff, notably the al-Radaa (deterrence) Force, sided with Mr. Dbeibah, playing a decisive role in the outcome of the fighting.

The UN on Sunday urged the Libyan parties to engage in genuine dialogue to resolve the current political impasse and not to resort to force to resolve their differences.

This is the second failed coup by Mr. Bachagha, former Minister of the Interior, to try to dislodge his rival's executive, after a first unsuccessful attempt in May.

The clashes have been on an unprecedented scale since the failure, in June 2020, of Marshal Haftar's attempt to militarily conquer the capital, at the height of the civil war that followed the fall of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in 2011.

Libya has been mired in a major political crisis after the end of Gaddafi's rule with East-West rivalries, power struggles and foreign interference.

The interim government in place in Tripoli was born in early 2021 from a process sponsored by the UN, with the main mission of organizing #x27;elections last December, but postponed sine die due to strong differences.

Deeming Mr. Dbeibah's term to expire, the eastern-based parliament in February nominated Mr. Bachagha as prime minister, plunging the North African country into a a serious political crisis. For his part, Mr. Dbeibah has repeatedly assured that he would only cede his chair to a government that emerges from the ballot box.

On Saturday evening, Mr. Dbeibah ordered the arrest of anyone involved in the attack on Tripoli, whether military or civilian.

La Force Joint Operations, a powerful Misrata-based militia that supports Mr. Dbeibah, said in a statement on Sunday that it had arrested several attackers involved in Mr. Bachagha's failed coup.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister in Tripoli announced the creation of two commissions to identify the damage.

But the crisis is far from over, the security situation remains highly unstable , especially in the capital, where a myriad of militias with shifting allegiances remain highly influential.

Armed groups that found themselves on the same side in yesterday's fighting in Tripoli will face off tomorrow for territory, positions and budgets. The factions that were pro-Dbeibah yesterday will challenge him tomorrow. It's a never-ending story, Wolfram Lacher, Libya expert at the German SWP Institute, summed up on Twitter.

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