Libya's capital erupts in armed violence

Armed clashes erupted in Libya's capital of Tripoli on Sunday, triggering a government-declared "state of emergency" and raising fears of a new round of more widespread violence within the country.
By Rick Docksai | Jan 14, 2019
Libya's health ministry declared a state of emergency Monday amid armed clashes that have been raging in the streets of the Libyan capital of Tripoli since Sunday evening. Unidentified armed groups are locked in battle, according to officials, who expressed concern that the clashes may morph into a wider conflict reaching far beyond the city's limits.

The officials said that two people died and several more suffered wounds on Monday.

The carnage follows an attack last week on a checkpoint in Zliten, a town 170 kilometers west of Tripoli. Armed assailants killed six soldiers loyal to Libya's official UN-recognized government, the Government of National Accord (GNA) in that attack.

An Islamic State-affiliated group issued a statement Saturday claiming responsibility for the Zliten attack. As of now, it is unknown who is behind the violence in Tripoli.

Violence has been rife throughout Libya since the U.S.-backed overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Quadaffi in 2011 and the subsequent division of the country between the GNA in Tripolii and an insurgent counter-government in the east backed by military leader Khalifa Haftar. Numerous armed groups and human traffickers have established footholds throughout Libya amid the lack of functional national governance.

The upheavals have displaced thousands of Libyans, including an estimated 1,900 Libyans who had taken shelter in a refugee camp in Tripoli. Libyan government troops forcibly evicted the smite camp last week and arrested around 100 of the camp's residents, according to the UN Refugee Agency, whose spokesman added that more refugee camps around the capital face similar risk of eviction.


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