32 dead after violent clashes in Tripoli, UN mission in Libya calls for ceasefire

Deadly clashes in the Libya capital have left 32 dead and numerous others injured

Photo: The Libya Observer
Photo: The Libya Observer

After a day of violent fighting in the capital city of Tripoli, the UN is calling for an immediate end to the fighting in Libya. 

According to the health ministry, at least 32 people were killed and numerous others were injured during the battle. 

Young comedian Mustafa Baraka was among the fatalities, an official claimed. 

Libya has been in disarray since Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in a NATO-backed rebellion in 2011. Despite this, the nation enjoyed a period of relative peace in the previous two years.

Armed members of the internationally-recognised government attempted on Saturday to repel a convoy of militia members loyal to Fathi Bashagha, who is competing for power in the country and is recognised as prime minister by a rival, eastern parliament. 

There were reports of explosions and small-arms fire in various parts of the capital, with the city filled with rising black smoke.

According to emergency services, several hospitals were affected, with residents of neighborhoods close to the violence having to be evacuated. 

A spokesperson for the UN's secretary-general urged Libyan parties to engage in dialogue with each other to tackle the ongoing political impasse while avoiding the use of force to resolve such differences.

The US ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, on Saturday supported the UN mission's appeal for an urgent ceasefire, which it said had included "indiscriminate medium and heavy shelling on civilian-populated neighbourhoods."

With free healthcare and free education, the oil-rich nation formerly boasted one of the greatest standards of living in all of Africa. 

But the stability that once supported its prosperity was destroyed in 2011, after which Tripoli has seen frequent conflicts between competing factions.