Militia Fighting Erupts in Libyan Capital

Wednesday, 16 January, 2019 - 19:30
Asharq Al-Awsat

Fighting between rival militias erupted on Wednesday in the Libyan capital in violation of a UN-brokered ceasefire.

Malek Merset, spokesman for the Government of National Accord (GNA) Health Ministry, said at least five people were killed and 20 others wounded Wednesday.

Witnesses reported sporadic shooting and road closures after the Tripoli Protection Force alliance warned on Facebook it would "repel an attack" by a rival group that had failed to withdraw from the capital.

The Seventh Brigade militia, from the town of Tarhuna, has maintained its positions in Tripoli since the ceasefire agreement.

A previous round of fighting, which erupted in August last year, killed at least 96 people, including civilians. The UN mission has warned against any breach of the truce, brokered in September.

"The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) strongly condemns the recent military mobilization of forces in southern Tripoli and is monitoring the situation closely," it said in a statement.

"UNSMIL warns parties against any breach of the ceasefire agreement concluded on 04 and 09 September 2018."

The UN said that "any party initiating a confrontation will be held fully responsible" and insisted it "will take action as necessary" to halt any violence.

The GNA announced security reforms in the wake of the bloodshed last year, aimed at curbing the power of militias in the capital.

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