Tripoli, Libya – After three days of some of the worst fighting seen in the capital city of Tripoli since the civil war. A shaky cease-fire was agreed upon by the warring factions turned the streets into yet another war zone in an attempt at a power grab for control of Tripoli and in essence Libya itself. What still isn’t clear is what sparked this latest round of fighting. However it looks as if the United Nations was able to broker a cease-fire with the agreement that the Mistrata militias loyal to Khalifa al-Ghawil along with the U.N.-backed pro-Government of National Accord or GNA militias loyal to the GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj were to halt all overt conflict and return portions of the city they gained control of back to the Presidential Security Forces during the renewed fighting.
The Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade(TRB) along with the RADA Special Deterrence Forces or simply, RADA who specifically acquired large swaths of real estate in the Abu Salim and Bab Benghasir areas of the city, have agreed to return the Al Mahary Radisson Blu Hotel where the decommissioned Libya Islamic Fighting Group once was headquartered along with the al-Nser Park and the highly contested Camp 77 military camp that is nestled next to the former Qaddafi compound and housed a large cache of the former dictator’s weapons of war.
Camp 77 was under the control of radical Islamist militias with ties to Misrata headed by Salah Badi and his band of other militia hardliners, namely the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council(BRSC) and its leader Wissam Ben Hamid. The Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade claimed to have captured the camp and reported to have found large caches of explosives intended for use for future attacks as well as having arrested several militia members within the camp itself. No word has been reported on whether these members detained will be returned as part of the brokered cease-fire as they are being considered terrorists by the pro-GNA TRB and might not be provided safe passage back to their respective militia.
The latest cease-fire is being taken with a grain of salt from local Libyans as it seems that even the smallest of slights can ignite a full-on offensive especially when you factor in the tribal conflicts potentially boiling over. Not two weeks prior to the outbreak of violence in Tripoli, an all out brawl with tanks broke out in the desert city of Sabha in Southwest Libya. What started that bloodbath was a monkey. Yes, a pet monkey. What was made clear about this incident was that a pet monkey purportedly assaulted a young girl from Suleiman tribe, scratching her face and pulling off her headscarf. The monkey was a pet belonging to a member of the Gaddadfa tribe which has a Hatfield and McCoy blood feud with the Suleiman tribe. In retaliation for the monkey assault, Suleiman tribe members killed several Qaddadfa tribal members which sparked four days of bloody all out battle which involved a few tanks and crew-served ‘technicals’ joining in the fray resulting in 20 killed and more than 60 injured in the ensuing violence. Sabha is now under a cease-fire as tensions cool in that city as well.
United Nations envoy to Libya, Martin Kobler seemed hopeful that the cease-fire will hold, yet reaffirmed his displeasure of the recent outbreak by stating: “It’s completely unacceptable for armed groups to fight to assert their interest and control, particularly in residential areas, terrorizing the population.” Residents of Tripoli are not so happy or hopeful as a local resident told Associated Press; “”We haven’t slept all night and we haven’t left the house since yesterday. All we are hearing is screaming, bombings and gunfire, – the security situation is going from bad to worse.” She then expressed what all of the city inhabitants are thinking; “We just want the militias to leave. ”
Featured Image: New York Times