Clashes in Tripoli as rival Libyan government enters capital

The rival government appointed by Libya’s east-based parliament said on Tuesday it had arrived in the capital, where the unity government refused to hand over power, sparking fighting between their militia supporters.

Its press service announced “the arrival of the prime minister of the Libyan government, Mr. Fathi Bashagha, accompanied by several ministers, in the capital Tripoli to begin his work there”.

Clashes erupted between rival armed groups soon after he entered the western city, an AFP journalist reported.

In February, the parliament of the eastern city of Tobruk appointed former interior minister Bashagha as prime minister.

But he failed to oust the Tripoli-based unity administration led by Prime Minister Abdulhamid Dbeibah, who has repeatedly said he would hand over power only to an elected government.

Dbeibah’s government was formed in 2020 as part of United Nations-led efforts to draw a line under a decade of conflict since a NATO-backed uprising toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

Dbeibah was supposed to lead the country until elections last December, but they have been postponed indefinitely and his political opponents say his term is now over.

The rise of Bashagha’s government gives the North African country two rival administrations, as it did between 2014 and a 2020 ceasefire.


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