Libyan militia tighten control of Tripoli airport

2014-07-16 06:03
The wreckage of a truck and an airplane are seen at Tripoli international airport in the Libyan capital following fighting between rival armed groups. (Mahmud Turkia, AFP)

The wreckage of a truck and an airplane are seen at Tripoli international airport in the Libyan capital following fighting between rival armed groups. (Mahmud Turkia, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Tripoli - Libyan militia fighters with anti aircraft guns and mortars fanned out on Tuesday across Tripoli's airport, transformed into a battlefield by two days of fighting that has cut the Libyan capital off from the outside world.

Widespread violence has brought the north African country to the edge of chaos three years after the uprising that toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

At least 15 people have been killed in the capital and the eastern city of Benghazi since Sunday. Fighting between rival militias at the capital's airport damaged the control tower and wrecked 11 civilian aircraft parked on the tarmac. The main terminal building has been turned into a field hospital.

In Benghazi, irregular forces loyal to renegade former general Khalifa Haftar, a former Gaddafi ally, bombarded Islamist militia bases as part of his self-declared campaign to oust militants. Special forces clashed with militia fighters in the city.

The Tripoli airport battle has prompted the United Nations to evacuate its staff from the country, where a new government is struggling to impose order over streets prowled by fighters who rose up against Gaddafi and never disarmed.

The airport area is under the control of former fighters from the western town of Zintan who have held it since the fall of Tripoli in 2011. Rival Islamist-leaning militias fought with the Zintanis in recent days, but failed to dislodge them.

For the past three years, the new authorities have tried to rein in militia fighters by putting them on the government payroll. But months of protests at oil fields and ports caused government revenues to collapse last year, leaving the economy in tatters.

Nato helped rebels topple Gaddafi with air strikes, but the Western military alliance has not intervened to stem the subsequent chaos. Kerry said the United States, whose ambassador was killed in an attack in Benghazi in 2012, had sent diplomats to seek consensus among Libyan political groups.

Government spokesperson Ahmed Lamine said Tripoli was studying the possibility of international forces to improve security. But it is not clear whether there has been any real Libyan proposal, much less international willingness to send troops.

Western powers fear chaos in Libya will allow arms and militants to flow across its borders. The south of the vast desert country has become a haven for Islamist militants kicked out of Mali by French forces earlier this year.

In one bit of good news for the government, the authorities have managed to end a port blockade by a brigade of militiamen who had taken control of four main oil terminals to demand more autonomy for their eastern region. That protest and others at oilfields slashed the Opec country's production.

Despite the latest violence, Libya's oil production has risen to 588 000 barrels per day (bpd), the country's acting oil minister told Reuters on Tuesday, an improvement from last year, but still only about a third of pre-war levels.
Read more on:    opec  |  muammar ­gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Mechanical Draughtsman (Jnr) (Wellington)

Cape Winelands
Helderberg Personnel cc
R15 000 Per Month

Fund Accountant

Cape Town Southern Suburbs
Tower Group (PTY) Ltd
R10 000 Per Month

MDW905 MECHATRONICS ENGINEER

Cape Winelands
Anchor Executive Recruitment (Pty) Ltd
R25 000 - R35 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

• Cultivate your intuitive powers – intuition and insight are emphasized today. The focus is still on organisation and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.