UN condemns clashes in Libya capital, urges security reforms

UNSMIL expressed ‘great concern’ over fighting in the eastern suburb of Tajoura.

Troops loyal to Libya's internationally recognised government prepare their weapons as they carry out patrols in Zamzam, near Abu Qareen, Libya [Ayman al-Sahili/Reuters]

The United Nations has condemned clashes between two armed groups in a residential suburb of the Libyan capital and the use of heavy weapons.

The UNSMIL, the world body’s support mission in Libya, in a statement late on Friday expressed “great concern” over the fighting in the eastern suburb of Tajoura.

“Heavy weapons” were used in a “civilian-populated neighbourhood”, in clashes that caused “damage to private properties and put civilians in harm’s way”, it said.

The UNSMIL said it “reminds all parties of their obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law” and called for urgent reforms to boost security.

The clashes broke out late on Thursday between two militias loyal to the Tripoli-based and UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), but the cause remains unclear.

At least three people were killed and several wounded in the two camps, according to unconfirmed local reports. Residents said the clashes ended by Friday midday.

The GNA’s defence minister, Salah Eddine al-Namrouch, has threatened to intervene with force and ordered the two militias to be disbanded and their chiefs brought before a military prosecutor.

Tajoura also suffered damage after eastern strongman Khalifa Haftar launched an offensive against Tripoli in April 2019. Pro-GNA forces repelled his troops after 14 months of fighting.

Libya has endured almost 10 years of violent chaos since a NATO-backed uprising toppled and killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Source: AFP