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article imageOp-Ed: Ceasefire agreement among militia groups fails to hold in Tripoli

By Ken Hanly     Mar 16, 2017 in World
Tripoli - The Presidency Council(PC) of the UN-brokered Government of National Accord (GNA) was able to broker an agreement among many brigades to stop fighting in Tripoli after many clashes the previous night.
For some reason Faiez Serraj the PM and head of the PC was not in attendance. PC member Ahmed Hamza and the Defense Minister Mihid al-Barghati chaired the meeting. The meeting was held in the Abu Sittah Naval Base one of the few secure areas to meet in Tripoli no doubt. The municipal councils of Misrata, Souq Al-Jonaa and Central Tripoli also took part. Commanders of loyal armed brigades from Misrata and Tripoli also participated.
The agreement requires all armed brigades "rival ones" to withdraw from Tripoli as set out in the Libya Political Agreement (LPA). The Tripoli Revolutionaries' Brigade(TRB) and Ghaniewa of the UN PC launched an offensive again other groups several days ago and drove them out of several areas of the capital. However under the agreement control will be handed over to other loyal brigades from the city of Misrata: “Brigade 301 of the Ministry of Defense will be tasked to guard the Ministry of Interior,” the agreement indicated. Brigade 301 is from Misrata and known as Al-Halboos Brigade. Regarding protection of Rixos compound, the agreement stated that it would be handed over to Brigade 14 and Brigade 155, both are also Misrata. Brigade 17, also from Misrata, was tasked with the protection of Airport Road, a region where several rival groups are located. The agreement immediately ran into difficulties as Ghaniewa that is in control of the RIxos compound backed out and said it was not part of the agreement.
The above account is from the Libya Observer. The Libya Herald also covers the ceasefire. The Herald account notes that in the fighting the leader of the National Salvation Government, Khalifa Ghwell who was attempting a coup against the GNA had been injured in the fighting. As discussed in a recent Digital Journal article, Ghwell was driven out of his headquarters in the Rixos hotel complex. He is said to have been taken to Misrata for treatment. According to the Herald the agreement provides for the departure of armed factions "beyond the law" from Tripoli as required by the LPA. It is not clear which militia are "beyond the law" or who is to ensure that the agreement terms are obeyed by militias. It may not matter because it seems that several important militia groups did not agree to the deal according to reports. The Rada Special Deterrence Force headed by Abdul Kara, and the Abu Sleem Central Security Force headed by Gheneiwa or Abdul Al-Kikli have not agreed to the deal.
Earlier today Bunyan Marsous commanders from Misrata said they were sending 1500 armoured vehicles to "force the establishment of peace and security in Tripoli". The Herald did not know what had happened to the operation.
In a later article, the Herald notes that the ceasefire had been rejected by the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade headed by Haytem Tajouri . The Brigade said it would continue its advance and there were unconfirmed reports of minor clashes breaking out again. The TRB said that with no legitimate army to keep order it would protect the people. The TRB said that it would never be satisfied with "half measures and formal agreements". The TRB also accused fighters from other towns of sowing instability in Tripoli.
There was an attack on al-Hadhba prison today that killed several guards as reported in a recent tweet: Very serious developments, heavy fighting near al-Hadhba prison, where former regime senior officials are held. There may be more clashes happening soon as the PC agreement does not include at least three key militia groups in Tripoli.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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