Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Clashes in Tripoli over the arrival of the Libyan prime minister

CAIRO ( Associated Press) — Clashes broke out between rival militias in the Libyan capital Tripoli on Tuesday after one of the country’s rival prime ministers was expected to give a seat to his government.

Prime Minister Fathi Bashagha’s office said in a brief statement that he arrived in Tripoli with several ministers from his cabinet – three months after his appointment to head the interim administration in the troubled nation. No further details were given in the statement.

There was no immediate comment from the government of crisis-stricken Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeba, who lives in Tripoli.

The development is expected to increase tensions between rival administrations of Libya. Local media reported clashes between various militias supporting both sides and rival forces in central Tripoli and elsewhere in the city.

“We arrived in the capital peacefully and safely. The reception was excellent,” Bashaga said in the video comments, adding that his government was ready to work with all Libyans, including those who oppose him. He made no mention of the clashes.

Bashagha, a former interior minister, was named prime minister by the country’s east-based parliament in February. But Dabibah, a wealthy businessman, refused to step down and insisted that he hand over power only to an elected government. Both prime ministers are from the mighty western city of Misrata.

Over the weekend, rival militias also clashed in Tripoli’s Janjore neighborhood. There were no casualties, but local officials said there was damage to infrastructure, including a power plant.

The UN mission in Libya has condemned the clashes, saying they were involved in “indiscriminate firing and the alleged use of heavy weapons” in the densely populated area.

Lawmakers have argued that Dbeba’s mandate had ended after Libya failed to hold a presidential election in December, as planned under a UN arbitration agreement.

The failure to vote was a major blow to international efforts to end a decade-long anarchy in Libya. It opened a new chapter in Libya’s long-running political deadlock, with rival governments claiming power after tentative moves toward unity over the past year.

The oil-rich country has been ravaged by conflict since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 that killed longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi. Libya has for years been divided between rival administrations in the east and west, each backed by various militias and foreign governments. ,


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