Pockets of fighting is continuing in Libya making the much talked about elections even more of a pipe dream for Libyans. This time 90kms south of Tripoli in a small town which has symbolic meaning to the eastern bloc of the country.
According to Reuters, skirmishes in a Libyan hill town has killed eight people a member of the municipal council and another resident said, adding that militias aligned with the Tripoli government had re-established control there on October 31st.
Clashes began in Gharyan, 90km south of Tripoli, during the weekend between a local commander who had previously allied with eastern forces in the civil war, and other fighters aligned with the government, residents said.
Muna al-Muqdam, the municipal council member, said two people were killed in the initial clashes but air strikes later hit a number of targets in the town bringing the total death toll to eight.
Eastern factions demand Dbeibah steps aside before any move towards an election seen by the United Nations as the only solution to years of conflict. He has refused to step down until after an election.
Disputes over control of the government in Libya have led to repeated outbreaks of fighting since the start of 2022 but most major warfare has been on hold since a ceasefire in 2020.
Video footage of Gharyan circulating on social media showed armed vehicles exchanging fire in the town centre with others burning by a roadside.
“The city is now controlled by forces of the Government of National Unity. The situation is under control,” council member Muqdam said.
Gharyan’s strategic significance has been clear for years after it was used by eastern commander Khalifa Haftar in 2019 to start an ultimately fruitless offensive northwards to try to capture Tripoli.