First Published: 2012-01-03

 

Ex-rebels’ war for money, power: Fierce clashes erupt in Tripoli

 

Gun fight erupts in central Tripoli, killing two, as ex-rebels from Misrata clash with unit of ex-fighters from Libyan capital.

 

Middle East Online

By Jay Deshmukh – TRIPOLI

Who will prevail first?

A gun fight erupted in central Tripoli on Tuesday, killing two, as a group of former rebels from the western city of Misrata clashed with a unit of ex-fighters from the Libyan capital, witnesses said.

The two groups of former rebels who helped topple the regime of slain leader Moamer Gathafi traded anti-aircraft and heavy machinegun fire as they fought in broad daylight in a Tripoli neighbourhood.

The fighting broke out between Al-Zawiyah and Al-Saidi streets near a building used as intelligence headquarters by the former regime.

Reporters saw the building and the entire neighbourhood surrounded by hundreds of rebels who ousted Gathafi, several of them armed with Kalashnikovs, amid steady gunfire.

Massud al-Khadar, a member of a militia from the neighbourhood, said: "Two of our (fighters) were killed in the clashes which began this morning."

He said the violence started when a rival militia from Misrata attacked his group based near the former intelligence building.

Ex-rebels, who remain organised in militia brigades, are visible in many parts of the capital, and some have taken control of former government buildings to use as headquarters.

But witnesses said earlier that forces linked to the new government's interior ministry may have tried to retake the intelligence building on Tuesday, provoking a clash with the militia group occupying it.

Those reports could not be independently verified, and the interior ministry declined to comment, saying it would comment on the clashes later Tuesday.

Sources saw militiamen had blocked traffic from reaching the building, even as ambulances tried to access the area, with witnesses reporting a number of injuries.

Many gunmen could also be seen circulating in the area and the situation remained chaotic.

A vehicle belonging to a former rebel group based in the area and equipped with a microphone and loudspeakers was touring the neighbourhood's streets, urging residents who are not armed to leave.

The presence of armed militia groups in Tripoli is one of the biggest challenges facing the new Libyan rulers.

These groups, several of them from outside Tripoli, fought Gathafi's forces while liberating the capital in August. Since then, they have stayed put in the city and refused to return to their home towns.

In the absence of proper security forces, these militias are offering security on the streets of Tripoli. Powerful militias from Misrata and towns such as Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, are even guarding key installations in the capital.

Tripoli residents, however, have been protesting against their presence, saying it has actually raised security concerns in the capital.

Several militia commanders have said their fighters would leave Tripoli only when a new national army is formed.

Prime Minister Abel Rahim al-Kib has acknowledged the issue as a "complex" one, saying tens of thousands of the former rebels would be integrated into the security forces.

 

Saudi mosque attack intended to fan sectarian tension

Israeli deputy FM: 'All of it is ours'

Obama offers Tunisia closer security ties

IS fighters attack Iraq forces east of Ramadi

Israel solicits Platini to sway FIFA

Sudan's Islamists protest against el-Sisi

Islamic State claims Saudi mosque bombing

Islamic State reinforces ‘caliphate’ with control of borders

Iraqi forces to launch Ramadi offensive

Tunis asks Rome to extradite terror suspect

Suicide bomb attack on Saudi Shiite mosque

Saudi-led coalition warplanes pound Sanaa outskirts

Shebab gunmen raid Kenya village

Kuwait businessman Khorafi dies at 75

Yemen air strikes continue as Iran calls for talks

Israeli court orders release of Khalida Jarrar

Netanyahu meets with Arab leader Ayman Odeh

U.S. sanctions two companies linked to Iran's plane purchases

Iran supports Yemen talks, denounces foreign interference

IS militants call for attacks on Egypt's judges

11 killed in fresh Libya violence

Assad regime losses in Syria

Obama looks to bolster Tunisia's democratic gains

Turkey opposition unveils plan to build new 'mega-city' in Anatolia

Iraqi prime minister seeks Russian support against Islamic State

Iraq's Sunni tribes feel distrust towards Baghdad after Ramadi fall

Morocco illegal migrant arrest fuels Italy row

Qatar ‘failing to deliver’ on promised labour reforms

US to sell bombs, missiles to Israel, helicopters to Saudis

IS jihadists in full control of Syria's Palmyra

Yemen government wants rebel pullback before joining Geneva talks

Morocco King names four new ministers in second reshuffle

Gaza reconstruction going ‘far more slowly than expected’

France kills two jihadist chiefs in Sahel region

Clashes with ‘Islamic State’ rage on near Libya city of Sirte

Protests in Tunisia phosphate-producing region intensify

Iran aid ship to dock in Djibouti for inspection

Israel to face FIFA suspension bid

Letters of Bin Laden reveal accurate fear of surveillance

Yemen talks to open May 28 in Geneva

‘Islamic State’ fighters take control of Palmyra northern sector

Palestinian driver shot by Israeli police

New Egypt justice minister sworn in after judge's gaffe

IS, Syria regime locked in fierce battles near Palmyra

Rajoub: Conditions not ready for Israel-Palestine "match for peace"