Government and military prosecutors will investigate rival fighting in the nation’s capital.
Intense clashes have erupted between rival factions in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, with reports of several people being killed amid growing fears that a political stalemate could spark renewed conflict.
Clashes erupted early Friday in the central district near the Radisson Blu hotel, an area where several government and international agencies and diplomatic missions are based, with military vehicles mobilized around Zawiyat al-Dahmani.
Fighting had taken place on Thursday evening in the Ain Zara area of the city between units of the Presidential Council security force and the Special Deterrence Force, or RADA.
Tripoli residents said a man and a child were killed in the fighting. Local reports, citing medical sources, later said five people had been killed.
Osama Ali, spokesman for the Libyan ambulance and emergency services, said on Friday that the number of casualties could increase as reports arrive from other hospitals in the area.
The Libyan Army’s 444 Brigade intervened to stop the fighting and took up positions in several areas where the clashes took place, according to an Anadolu Agency reporter.
A statement from the Presidential Council called on both sides to cease hostilities, adding that government and military prosecutors will conduct investigations.
Last month, clashes between two influential militias aligned with rival prime ministers vying for power rocked Tripoli, injuring several people in the process.
Worsening of the situation
Oil-rich Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011, when longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi was toppled after four decades in power.
The situation has worsened since March, when the eastern Tobruk-based House of Representatives appointed a new government led by former interior minister Fathi Bashagha.
Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh, head of the UN-backed Tripoli-based national unity government, insists he will only cede authority to a government that passes through an “elected parliament”, raising fears that Libya does not fall back into a civil war.
The two prime ministers enjoy the support of armed factions that control the territory of the capital and other towns in western Libya.
In recent weeks, political shifts have highlighted a possible realignment between power brokers and armed factions that could cause renewed fighting.