Tripoli fight stokes civil war fears

Cairo: Fighting broke out Monday between rival militias in the Libyan capital Tripoli after a short lull, raising fears of a worsening situation in the city wracked by violence for more than a week, Libyan media reported.

At least 47 people have been killed and 129 injured in fighting that started on August 27, the Tripoli-based Health Ministry said.


Libya is divided between two competing governments — one based in the capital Tripoli and the other in east Libya.

Over the past week, several truces have failed to hold in Tripoli, prompting the city’s government to declare a state of emergency on Sunday in the capital and its suburbs.

The parliament headquartered in the east has warned the violence threatens a civil war in the country and will derail a plan to hold elections.

In May, Libyan rivals agreed at a meeting hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron to hold nationwide polls on December 10.

However, doubts abound whether the vote will be held as scheduled due to political feuds and logistical problems.

The fighting in Tripoli allowed hundreds of prisoners to escape en masse from a jail in a southern suburb of the city where the battle was raging.

Police said that 400 inmates fled the prison in Ain Zara on Sunday. “The prisoners removed the doors and left after riots against the background of the nearby clashes,” the judicial police added in a statement without specifying the offences of the fugitives.

The jailbreak is thought to have been intentionally assisted by the feuding militias to incite chaos in Tripoli.

Several government-run institutions were looted by “outlaws” in Tripoli due to security breakdown, the Libyan news website Al Wasat Gate reported.

The UN mission in Libya called for a meeting on Tuesday to discuss the security scene in Tripoli.

Libya has slid into anarchy since an armed uprising in 2011 against late dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

In recent months, the oil-rich country has suffered economic woes and a lack of basic services, including frequent power outages.

However, doubts abound that the vote will be held as scheduled due to political disagreements and logistical problems.

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