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Tripoli factions on edge as Libya stalemate festers

Tripoli factions on edge as Libya stalemate festers

ANGUS MCDOWALL A sudden shootout between factions in the Libyan capital this month provided a vivid demonstration of how a political stalemate could trigger fighting between rival groups and end two years of comparative peace. Much of Libya has for years been dominated by armed forces that control territory and vie for position while formally acting as paid elements of state security, their presence strikingly apparent during a recent Reuters visit. In Tripoli, tensions over the standoff between the unity government installed last year and a rival one endorsed by the eastern-based parliament have added to earlier friction in the…
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Libya’s Bashagha says he will enter Tripoli peacefully within days

Libya’s Bashagha says he will enter Tripoli peacefully within days

ANGUS MCDOWALL LIBYA'S Fathi Bashagha, who was appointed prime minister by the eastern-based parliament this month, expects to take over government in Tripoli in the coming days without using force, he told Reuters, amid a weeks-long standoff between rival factions. Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah, who was made interim prime minister a year ago in a U.N.-backed process, has refused to cede power to Bashagha after a planned election collapsed in December and remains ensconced in the capital, backed by some armed groups. After the election process fell apart, the parliament said Dbeibah's government had expired and selected Bashagha to head a new…
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Tension, standoff in Tripoli

Tension, standoff in Tripoli

AHMED ELUMAMI A long ceasefire has brought life back to Tripoli's Algeria Square, its roundabout replanted with grass and customers lingering into the night at the Aurora Cafe, but Libya's new crisis of two governments threatens to upend that peace. Home to the city hall, post office and a mosque converted from the colonial-era Italian cathedral, Algeria Square plays a big role in the capital's civic life. But it is also near likely front lines in a battle many Libyans fear may soon erupt. The standoff worsened this week as the parliament in the east swore in a new administration…
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Explainer: Why Libya’s election has collapsed and what comes next

Explainer: Why Libya’s election has collapsed and what comes next

ANGUS MCDOWALL LIBYA said its planned election would not take place but it has not set a new date or worked out how to move forward to avoid a return to conflict. This sets out the main issues and what might happen next. HOW DID WE GET HERE? Libya fell apart after the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi and split in 2014 between warring eastern and western factions. The peace process follows the collapse in 2020 of eastern commander Khalifa Haftar's 14-month assault on Tripoli. Eastern and southern areas are held by Haftar's LNA, with western areas including Tripoli held…
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‘Worst Tripoli fighting in a year’

‘Worst Tripoli fighting in a year’

AHMED ELUMANI FIGHTING broke out in Tripoli early on Friday between rival armed forces, the heaviest clashes in the Libyan capital since the conflict between eastern and western factions paused a year ago. A resident of the Salah al-Din district in southern Tripoli said the shooting began at about 2.30 a.m. and continued through the morning with medium and light weapons. Conflict in Tripoli between the armed groups who vie to control both territory and state institutions would further undermine the prospect of December elections as part of a plan to end a decade of chaos, violence and division. Despite…
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Libya’s Tripoli government imposes COVID-19 curfew after protests escalate

Libya’s Tripoli government imposes COVID-19 curfew after protests escalate

LIBYA’S Tripoli-based government has announced a 24-hour curfew to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus as it struggles to contain protests over deteriorating living conditions and corruption. The curfew, which took effect on Wednesday night, was imposed by the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) three days after protests in the capital and the nearby town of Zawiya began to escalate. The decision exempts people who need to go out for essential food or medicine at nearby shops, but it angered protest supporters who posted messages online saying it was designed to prevent further demonstrations. Some defied the…
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Pandemic starts to surge in conflict-hit Libya

Pandemic starts to surge in conflict-hit Libya

AS coronavirus cases surge in Libya, medics and officials working with a health system wrecked by years of division and war are warning that the pandemic could be slipping out of their control. The conflict has also restricted movement within Libya, and confirmed cases remained low during the first months of the outbreak. Now, infections are jumping by up to several hundred per day to reach a total of nearly 8,200, including more than 150 deaths. Hotspots include the capital Tripoli and the large port city of Misrata in the west, and the city of Sabha in the south. Medics…
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Libya to impose full lockdown as pandemic cases grow

Libya to impose full lockdown as pandemic cases grow

LIBYA's internationally recognised government in Tripoli will impose a full lockdown in areas of the country it controls, it said on Thursday, after a sharp rise in coronavirus cases. Libya, split since 2014 between areas held by the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east, managed to avoid an early surge of the pandemic. However, the disease has been spreading more quickly this month and Libya's National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), one of the few bodies that operates across the country despite the conflict, has confirmed 3,222 cases. Libya's health system is…
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Libya’s rival authorities announce ceasefire

Libya’s rival authorities announce ceasefire

LIBYA’S internationally recognised government in Tripoli announced a ceasefire and the leader of a rival parliament in eastern Libya also appealed for a halt to hostilities. The statements offered hope for a de-escalation of a conflict that has wracked the country since a 2011 uprising, displacing hundreds of thousands, slashing oil production, and opening space for migrant smugglers and militants. However, previous efforts to secure lasting ceasefires have stalled, and political leaders hold limited sway over armed groups in two broad factions that have been largely split between the west and east of Libya since 2014. The Tripoli-based Government of…
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Libyans face painful power cuts as years of chaos hit grid

Libyans face painful power cuts as years of chaos hit grid

WARFARE has stopped - for now - in the Libyan capital, but long power blackouts caused by years of poor maintenance still cause misery in the scorching summer weather. The blackouts have led to protests, and armed men storming electricity facilities to demand engineers bring back power, underscoring continued instability even after an assault by eastern forces on Tripoli ended last month. Conflict continues, fought between the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), backed by Turkey, and the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) backed by the United Arab Emirates, Russia and Egypt. The LNA assault on Tripoli added to…
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