At least 32 people have died in renewed fighting in Tripoli, ending the relative peace that has held for the last two years and signaling the breakdown of a political process that’s brought Libya no closer to long-delayed elections and a unified state.
Libya’s health ministry, cited by Al Jazeera, said at least another 159 people were injured. Emergency workers were still trying to evacuate those trapped in zones affected by clashes between armed groups aligned with either Abdul Hamid al-Dbeibeh and the Government of National Unity, or the eastern government of Fathi Bashagha.
Al-Dbeibeh planned to address the Libyan people on Sunday night, according to a GNU statement.
“What happened in the Libyan capital Tripoli was a betrayal and treachery” of negotiations to “spare the capital from bloodshed and violence,” said the GNU. “We condemn such acts in densely populated areas of the capital.”
GNU leaders have been working on a security plan for elections meant to be held this year, but no date has been set. The elections, originally scheduled in 2018, were disrupted by Khalifa Haftar’s military campaign as the Libyan National Army attacked Tripoli, and the stability needed for them has yet to be achieved since.
United Nations officials, along with other international leaders, have called for an immediate ceasefire. UN Secretary General António Guterres, in a statement issued through spokesman Stéphane Dujarric, said he “urges the Libyan parties to engage in a genuine dialogue to address the ongoing political impasse and not to use force to resolve their differences.”
The UN mission in Libya, led by acting UNSMIL chief Raisedon Zenenga, said it was “imperative that all parties also refrain from using any form of hate speech and incitement to violence.”