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Sarraj Calls for Avoiding Bloodshed in Southern Libya

Sarraj Calls for Avoiding Bloodshed in Southern Libya

Friday, 22 February, 2019 - 08:45
GNA chief Fayez al-Sarraj. (Reuters)
Cairo – Khaled Mahmoud
Head of the Government of National Accord (GNA) Fayez al-Sarraj stressed that the security and stability of the residents of southern Libya are priorities over any political tensions.

He therefore stressed his keenness on avoiding bloodshed in the South and any clashes between the locals.

GNA spokesman Mohammed al-Sallak quoted Sarraj as underlining the need to steer civilian establishments away from any military operations and safeguarding the people’s lives.

Fighting terrorism, extremism, organized crime and foreign mercenaries will remain a priority, he declared.

In addition, he welcomed the discussions at last week’s Munich security conference, which expressed complete support to the GNA.

The situation in the South was at the heart of talks between UN envoy to Libya Ghassan Salame and Higher Council of State chief Khalid al-Mishri. Mishri updated the envoy about his recent visit to the US.

The envoy also discussed with a delegation from the city of Mezdah in Tripoli local reconciliation issues and listened to their demands to improve health, water and security services in their region.

In the southern city of Oubari, shops are shuttered and tension is palpable, as residents fear an imminent incursion by the Libyan National Army (LNA), reported AFP.

We "dread the repercussions of military operations that are unfolding on the edge of town", said 22-year-old hospital administrator Ali Senoussi, speaking on behalf of his Tubu community, while stressing the local’s loyalty to Libya.

Many residents in Oubari -- some 900 kilometers (560 miles) south of Tripoli -- are Tubu, a non-Arab ethnic tribe.

The LNA launched its ongoing military campaign in mid-January and on Wednesday night entered Murzuk, another southern Libyan city home to many Tubus.

LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari confirmed that the forces captured Murzuk.

Renowned for a fortress that dates back more than seven centuries, much of the historic settlement now resembles a ghost town.

Murzuk's windswept streets are littered with garbage.

Like Oubari, shops are closed and people are scared to circulate.

Even bakers -- hit by a lack of flour -- cannot raise their blinds.

"The city faces numerous problems at the service level, particularly at the hospital where we have only one doctor", deplored municipal councilor Ibrahim Omar.

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