TRIPOLI, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — Calm returned to the Libyan capital Tripoli on Sunday, after two nights of armed clashes between armed groups affiliated with rival governments, which killed and injured nearly 200 people.
The Tripoli Security Directorate reopened primary and secondary roads and removed dozens of vehicles burned and destroyed due to the clashes. Shops reopened, and most government agencies and schools are expected to open on Monday. The clashes erupted later on Friday between armed groups loyal to the government appointed by the parliament’s House of Representatives, which seeks to take office and start working in Tripoli, and the Tripoli-based Government of National Unity that refuses to hand over office before elections. The armed groups loyal to the parliament-appointed government retreated from Tripoli, while the armed groups loyal to the Government of National Unity announced taking over the headquarters of the rival armed groups. “Today, movement in the streets is somewhat limited, due to the campaign to remove the remnants of the clashes and obstacles on the roads. Tomorrow, with the return of official working hours, traffic will return to normal,” Mohamed Hussein, an officer at the Tripoli Security Directorate, told Xinhua.
Al-Sharif Abdel-Rahman, the owner of a clothing store in Tripoli, said shop owners helped the security and service agencies to remove waste from the areas of the clashes. “We have had two dark nights. The sound of weapons was intense. But, today, life has returned, which makes us happy and makes Tripoli residents forget some of the sufferings of the war,” Abdel-Rahman told Xinhua. “We want our capital free of (military) camps and weapons because it deserves a civilized and peaceful atmosphere, not a military one,” he said. Traces of bullets remained in the streets and areas in Tripoli. Some houses were damaged by shells of different sizes, while the clashes destroyed several civilian vehicles.
Prime Minister of the Government of National Unity, Abdul-Hamed Dbeibah, issued orders to arrest those involved in the clashes, bring them to justice and compensate those whose property was damaged. Fat’hi Bashagha, the Prime Minister-designate of the parliament-appointed government, held Dbeibah’s government responsible for the clashes. “With regret to have followed up insecurity, chaos and the frightening of the civilians in Tripoli, which was caused by criminal groups under the command of Abdul-Hamed Dbeibah, whose term has expired according to the Geneva outcomes,” Bashagha said in a statement. “We affirm that Dbeibah and his armed gangs are responsible for the blood that was shed and for what will happen as a result of their clinging to power and their failure to accept the will of the Libyans and the principle of peaceful transfer of power,” the statement said. Libya has been suffering political instability and chaos ever since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.