A ceasefire agreement has been reached after nine days of clashes in Tripoli that have killed at least 60 people and left 159 injured thanks to the mediation of the United Nations Mission in Libya (UNSMIL). The attack against the internationally backed Government of National Accord in Libya (GNA) headed by Fayez al-Sarraj, supported by the governments of France, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States, was launched by the “7th Brigade”, an armed group from the city of Tarhouna (60km southeast of Tripoli). Western governments clearly welcomed the outcome of the UN mediation and in a joint statement called upon the involved parties to abide by the ceasefire agreement. Some analysts believe that the latest clashes could be motivated by the intention to scuttle national elections scheduled for later this year, expected to legitimize Sarraj’s government. In the meantime, in this chaotic situation, 8000 migrants arbitrarily trapped in detention centres are finding it even harder to access food and medical care. Reportedly 2000 African migrants have fled from a detention centre located near Tripoli’s airport. According to reports by UN agencies a number of migrants, released from detention, “have been subsequently captured by armed groups and forced to work for them.” At least 800 migrants, whose lives were at risk because of the clashes, are said to have been relocated to a safer detention centre.
The agreement on a ceasefire in Tripoli was announced on the official Twitter account of UNSMIL – United Nations Support Mission in Libya – aimed to “end all hostilities, protect civilians, safeguard public and private property.” Tripoli’s Meitiga International Airport, which had been closed since violence flared up, will also be opened under the deal. The UN made known that the agreement was signed by representatives of the Government of National Accord (GNA), military commanders, security apparatuses and armed groups present in and around Tripoli.
UNSMIL Statement on the Facilitation of a Ceasefire Agreement to end Fighting in #Tripoli
— UNSMIL (@UNSMILibya) September 4, 2018
Humanitarian worker among the casualties. UNHCR spokesperson, Charlie Yaxley, told reporters in Geneva that the use of heavy weapons and shelling in civilian neighbourhoods had “caused death, destruction and displacement, and is of great concern.” According to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), a humanitarian worker – trying to evacuate civilians trapped in a neighbourhood – was reportedly shot at, while one of the armed groups involved is alleged to have confiscated three ambulances.
Assistance from UN agencies. UN agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNHCR, have stepped up their response, with WHO delivering trauma medicines for 200 critical cases, keeping another 2,000 more units on standby and deploying 10 mobile emergency trauma teams to areas where fighting is ongoing. UNHCR is dispatching emergency items to families seeking shelter at a local school. “Doctors and other health staff [must] be allowed to move freely so that they can save lives without delay, and without risk to their own personal safety,” said Syed Jaffar Hussain, the head of WHO operations in Libya. Roadblocks prevent ambulances from providing medical care to the injured.
8.000 migrants in danger. According to UN reports a migrant detention facility has been hit. “We are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with the Libyan Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration and UN agencies, and advocating for all refugees and migrants to be relocated to a safer place,” said UNHCR’s Mr. Yaxley. According to UN agencies there are about 8,000 arbitrarily detained migrants trapped in detention centres in areas where fighting had been taking place, without access to food or medical treatment.