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Rival governments jostle for power in Libya’s capital through local clashes

Clashes have broken out in Libya’s capital Tripoli between armed groups loyal to Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh and House of Representatives-appointed rival leader Fathi Bashagha.

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On Tuesday, clashes have broken out in Libya’s capital Tripoli between armed groups loyal to Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh and rival leader Fathi Bashagha, who was recently appointed as premier by the Tobruk-based parliament.

In order to take control of the government from Dbeibeh, who has refused to hand over power, Bashagha reached the capital overnight.

However, Bashagha was forced to leave the capital after fierce clashes were reported between the two sides, a security source indicated.

Fighting has been reported in the al-Mansoura and Souq al-Thulatha areas in central Tripoli.

The violence was condemned by Khaled al-Mishri, the head of Libya’s High Council of State, and he called for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

For her part, UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Libya Stephanie Williams called for immediate calm and restraint.

She tweeted, “I urge restraint and insist on the absolute necessity of refraining from provocative actions, including inflammatory rhetoric, participation in clashes and the mobilization of forces.” Dialogue is the only exit to the ongoing crisis, she added.

The national unity government led by Dbeibeh and the one granted confidence in early March by the Tobruk-based House of Representatives make up the two governments in Libya for more than two months.

Dbeibeh has previously said he would only cede authority to a government that comes through an “elected parliament.” This statement has raised fears over the oil-rich country slipping back into a civil war.

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