The Libyan capital of Tripoli is once again rocked by violent clashes between rival armed factions, further exacerbating the already fragile security situation in the country.
The latest bout of fighting erupted following the reported seizure of Mahmoud Hamza, the commander of the powerful armed faction known as the 444 brigade, by a rival force.
Residents in the Furnaj district of Tripoli reported hearing gunfire for nearly two hours, expressing deep concerns for their safety. The detention of Mahmoud Hamza at Mitiga airport by the Special Deterrence Force has heightened tensions between the rival factions. Any prolonged conflict between these two powerful groups could have significant implications for the security and stability of the capital.
Monday’s clashes mark the most severe outbreak of violence in Tripoli in months, although sporadic clashes between armed factions have been witnessed in other parts of northwest Libya in recent weeks.
The country has long struggled with peace and security since the NATO-backed uprising in 2011 that led to the fall of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi. Since 2014, control has been divided between eastern and western factions, resulting in a protracted civil conflict.
Despite a ceasefire that has been in place since 2020, a lasting political solution remains elusive. The absence of a unified government and the constant power struggles between rival factions have created a power vacuum, allowing armed groups to operate with impunity and perpetuate the cycle of violence.
A video circulating online, verified by witnesses, showed tracer fire streaking past an apartment building, with the sound of gunshots reverberating in the background. This visual depiction of the clashes only serves as a reminder of the dire situation faced by ordinary Libyans who are caught in the crossfire of these armed confrontations.
In addition to the clashes, Reuters news agency reported road closures by armed men in the Ain Zara district, located in close proximity to where the fighting was taking place. These actions further disrupt the daily lives of residents and deepen the sense of insecurity and fear that looms over the city.
The international community has repeatedly called for a political resolution to the conflict in Libya, but progress has been limited. Efforts to bring the rival factions to the negotiating table and form a unified government have faltered. The absence of a central authority has allowed the proliferation of armed groups and undermines any prospects for peace.