Two days after the Tripoli airport was hit by a rocket, the UN-backed government announced a state of emergency in the city as the death toll from fighting in recent days reached 39, including civilians caught in the crossfire.
The fighting erupted last week between armed groups from Tripoli against others from a town to the south vying for power in Libya’s capital. The Health Ministry said the fighting has also wounded 96 others.
Sunday’s statement by the government urged rival militias to stop the fighting and abide by a U.N.-brokered ceasefire.
Rival armed groups have killed at least 18 civilians, including four children, since clashes broke out in the southern suburbs of Tripoli on August 26, 2018, Human Rights Watch said.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the escalation of violence in and around Tripoli, and has called on all parties to immediately cease hostilities and grant humanitarian relief to those in need.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Guterres raised particular alarm over the use of indiscriminate shelling by armed groups leading to the death and injury of civilians, including children and called on all parties to abide by the ceasefire agreement brokered by the UN and the Reconciliation Committees.
The statement added that Ghassan Salame, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Libya will continue to offer good offices and work with all parties to reach a lasting political agreement acceptable to all to avoid further loss of lives and for the benefit of the people of the country.
Libya is currently governed by rival authorities, the GNA, based in Tripoli and another one based in the east and backed by the House of Representatives. Each authority is backed by an array of militias that wield real power on the ground.