Rival Factions Clash in Libya as Prime Minister Flees

Clashes have reportedly erupted in Libya's capital, Tripoli, as the parliament-appointed Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha, tried to take over the government. However, he was forced back by a rival administration that refused to cede power.

The latest crisis risks plunging Libya back into prolonged fighting after two years of comparative peace or returning it to a divide between the eastern-backed government of Bashagha and a Tripoli administration under Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah.

Bashagha reportedly entered Tripoli overnight after two months of stalemate between Libya's rival administrations, but withdrew hours later as fighting rocked the capital.

Bashagha later said that he had left Tripoli "for the sake of the security and safety of citizens and to stop the bloodshed."

Stephanie Williams, the UN Secretary-General's Special Advisor on Libya, posted on Twitter calling for calm and offering the "good offices of the United Nations" to try and find a solution.

Libya is scheduled to hold a presidential election in June. It was originally scheduled to take place in 2018, but was then postponed until December 2021 and then postponed again.

Graffiti on a wall in Benghazi, Libya, calls for elections and democracy (file photo).


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