Death toll rises to 58 amid armed clashes and heavy shelling in Libyan capital

Fighters loyal to Libya's UN-backed government are defending the capital from a rival strongman's forces. AFP/Mahmud TURKIA

Fighters loyal to Libya's UN-backed government are defending the capital from a rival strongman's forces. AFP/Mahmud TURKIA

In addition, 275 people have been wounded, including two doctors and an ambulance driver.

Heavy fighting, including armed clashes and the shelling of residential areas of Libya’s capital has forced the death toll up to 58 with another 275 people wounded, including two doctors and an ambulance driver.

The self-styled Libyan National Army, loyal to renegade General Khalifa Hafter from eastern Libya, is battling forces from the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord in Tripoli.

Hafter, who supports the rival House of Representatives government based in Tobruk, says he is ridding the oil-rich North African country of “terrorists”.

Critics say he is a politically ambitious warlord. His forces control large swathes of eastern Libya and engage regularly with other militias trying to take control of oil well facilities.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported on Thursday that heavy armed clashes and artillery shelling on residential areas in Ain Zara and Khalla Al Forjan had translated into an upsurge in displacement numbers in and around Tripoli, which doubled over the past 48 hours to just over 6,000 individuals.

OCHA said due to ongoing conflict, access restrictions and indiscriminate targeting of first responders, only 58 out of 580 families who registered for evacuations from areas particularly affected by hostilities could be brought to comparatively safer places thus far.

The UN continues to call for a humanitarian ceasefire to allow for the provision of emergency services and for the voluntary passage of civilians out of the areas of conflict.

– African News Agency (ANA)

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