Fighting in Tripoli displaces thousands: UN-backed govt

2018-09-04 20:21
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Fighting in and around the Libyan capital has displaced thousands of people, the government said on Tuesday as the UN prepared to host talks seeking to halt the violence.

Clashes since August 27 between rival militias in and around Tripoli have killed at least 50 people and wounded 138 others, most of them civilians, the health ministry said in an updated toll.

The fighting has raged mostly in the southern suburbs of the capital, forcing 1 825 families to flee to nearby towns or seek shelter in other districts of Tripoli, the ministry for displaced people's affairs said.

But many more remain trapped inside their homes and some are refusing to leave, fearing their property could be looted, the ministry said.

These families have an urgent need for food and water, the ministry said, adding that rescuers who have tried to assist them have come under attack from unidentified assailants who also stole ambulances.

After a lull overnight, fighting resumed on Tuesday morning in Tripoli's southern suburbs.

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It came as the UN mission in Libya invited "all concerned parties" to attend talks later in the day aimed at seeking an end to the violence, a UNSMIL spokesperson said.

Sausan Ghosheh said the talks would be closed to the press and declined to say who was invited or where the meeting would take place.

The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) on Sunday declared a state of emergency in the capital and its surroundings.

The Libyan capital has been at the centre of a battle for influence between armed groups since dictator Muammar Gaddafi was driven from power and killed.

The latest fighting pits Tripoli militias loyal to the GNA against armed groups from the town of Tarhuna, southeast of the capital, and the western city of Misrata.

The GNA, which has been unable to form a functioning army or regular security forces, has been forced to rely in such militias to keep Tripoli safe.

Militias formed the backbone of the 2011 uprising that toppled Gaddafi.

Since then rival administrations, including one based in the remote east, and the militias have competed for authority and oil wealth in the North African country.

Read more on:    un  |  muammar ­gaddafi  |  libya  |  north africa

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