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.

 

Vote or boycott: Grim record of self-serving politicians puts off voters in Tunisia

For Sudan President: Promises are something and re-election is something else

Egypt universities tighten security to avoid new Islamist violence

Rise of Shiite militias challenges government authority in Iraq

How to overcome Qatar heat? FIFA boss prefers winter World Cup in 2022

Protests over IS turn Istanbul University into war zone

Turkey eyes stricter punishment against lawbreakers at protests

Iran returns Abadi to ‘house of obedience’

From traditional military to counterinsurgency force: Syria army grows more capable

South Sudan rivals accept 'responsibility' for civil war

British drones in Iraq also used for Syria surveillance

Turkey launches new wave of wire-tapping arrests

Syria Kurds show impressive resistance to ‘Islamic State’ in Kobane

Iran forces inside Iraq as Abadi rules out foreign ground intervention!

South Sudan rivals meet in new bid to end civil war

From Morocco into Spain: Crowd of African migrants charges to border fence

Deadly suicide attack targets Shiite mosque in central Baghdad

Turkey gives Iraq Peshmerga forces passage to Kobane

Israel to supply Egypt with natural gas despite sabotage

Kerry seeks help of Southeast Asia in anti-Islamic State push

Qaeda inflicts heavy losses on Huthi rebels in central Yemen

US carries out first weapon airdrops to Kurd fighters near Kobane

Benghazi violence kills 75 people in five days

Morocco accuses Algeria of firing on civilians across border

Australia finalises deal for deployment of Special Forces to Iraq

Tunisia calls on Libya authorities to locate missing journalists

Turkey rejects calls to arm ‘terrorist’ Kurdish party in Syria

Western powers threaten sanctions against hostile actors in Libya

New deadly terrorist attack targets Egypt army in Sinai

‘Islamic State’ suffers heavy losses in Syria battleground of Kobane

After full formation of Iraq government, time comes to visit Iran

UN appeals for four-day truce in Western Libya

Gaza tunnel collapses before demolition: At least 3 Egypt soldiers dead

Erdogan begins one-day visit to Afghanistan

After weeks of delay, Iraq gets new security ministers

Diplomats scold Turkey over ambiguous relation with Islamic State

Lebanon pleads for Iran military aid to fight Islamic State

Kurds repulse new jihadist attempt to cut off Syria town

Huthi rebels meet fierce resistance in Yemen Sunni areas

Former Iraqi pilots train IS to fly Syria fighter jets

Two Millstones Drowning America into Premature Oblivion

Iraqi forces launch anti-IS operation north of Tikrit

Ben Ali cohorts planning comeback in Tunisia polls

Battle for Libya's Benghazi heats up

Kurdish fighters still holding out in Syria's Kobane