Tripoli: At least 55 people were killed and 146 others injured in fierce clashes that erupted in Tripoli between two militia groups that back Libya’s UN-supported government following the detention of a military commander, local media reports said.
Violence broke out in parts of the capital Tripoli late Monday evening between the 444 Brigade and the Special Deterrence Force after the latter reportedly arrested a powerful commander of the 444 Brigade, reports Xinhua news agency.
Confirming the death toll on Wednesday, Libya’s Emergency Medicine and Support Centre said the victims included civilians and security personnel, while several bodies remain unidentified.
According to the centre, 234 families had to be evacuated from frontline areas with 60 ambulances deployed and three field hospitals set up to deal with the causalities.
The Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday that the clashes stopped when the warring factions agreed to a ceasefire “with the efforts of the Prime Minister and the elders of Tripoli”.
During a meeting on Wednesday with many elders of Tripoli, Prime Minister Abdul-Hamed Dbeibah, rejected the “return of fighting” in the country.
“The Prime Minister said that the return of fighting is unacceptable and that the country does not tolerate any irresponsible behaviour, stressing the importance of cooperation with all security agencies to enforce security,” said a statement issued by the government’s information office.
Dbeibah and the elders agreed that joint efforts were needed to ensure that fighting won’t return.
The fierce fighting had also forced the capital city’s main airport to close.
It reopened later on Wednesday.
Libya remains in political chaos after long-serving ruler Col Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011.
A 2020 ceasefire has brought a measure of peace, but entrenched factionalism on all sides constantly threatens to upset it.