State of emergency declared in Tripoli after days of fighting

The ongoing battles in Tripoli have killed dozens of people. Net photo.

Libya's UN-backed government has announced a state of emergency in the capital, Tripoli, and its outskirts after several days of fierce fighting between rival armed groups.

At least 39 people, including civilians, have been killed in the violence and nearly 100 others wounded.

"Due to the danger of the current situation and for the sake of the public interest, the presidential council declares a state of emergency ... to protect and secure civilians, public and private possessions and vital institutions," the Government of National Accord (GNA) said in a statement on Sunday.

Reporting from Tripoli, Al Jazeera's Mahmoud Abdelwahed said stray rockets were responsible for the death of several civilians.

"Since the beginning of the clashes that broke out a week ago, many civilians have been killed as a result of random rockets falling onto densely populated areas," he said.

"Many people here are blaming the Government of National Accord for not doing enough to stop the conflict."

Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that overthrew and killed longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The country is currently governed by two rival authorities backed by an array of powerful armed groups: the Tripoli-based GNA, which is recognised by the UN as Libya’s official government; and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives in the east of the country, which has the support of renegade General Khalifa Haftar.

The fighting in the capital erupted last week when armed groups from Tripoli clashed with others from a town to the south, vying for power in the administration based in the country’s west.

Street battles on Monday and Tuesday pitted the Seventh Brigade, or Kaniyat, from Tarhouna, a town 65km southeast of Tripoli, against the Tripoli Revolutionaries’ Brigades and the Nawasi, two of the capital’s largest factions.

The Kaniyat and other groups from outside Tripoli have noticed the success of rivals inside the city with growing unease. Reports about the wealth, power and extravagant lifestyles of some Tripoli rebel commanders have fuelled resentment.

Have Your SayLeave a comment