Two militia groups linked to the UN-backed Government of National Accord have fought over the control of oil and gas terminal in the town of Sabratha, with the GNA and Italy fearing the fighting could disrupt efforts to thwart migrants’ smuggling in the town known as a departure point for the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.
Operations Room this weekend said it flashed out its rival, Anas al-Dabbashi brigade, after three-weeks of fighting.
The fighting killed scores of people and wounded hundreds, reports say.
The Operations Rooms also known as AIRO (Anti-IS Operations Rooms) was set last year to defeat the Islamic State group (IS) in the town. The AIRO is said to control 95 per cent of the coastal town.
Dabbashi brigade was in control of the terminal and the town since last year and pledged to put a stop to migrants’ smuggling. The town located West of Tripoli has been used by migrants as main gate for boats expeditions on the Mediterranean to reach Europe, mainly through Italy.
The number of boats has significantly decreased since July as results of cooperation between Libyan coastguard supported by the EU and Dabbashi brigade in return for offers of amnesty and jobs in the security forces, reports say.
The new commanders of the town have also vowed to fight illegal migration, accusing rival group of promoting the lucrative smuggling business.