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Deadly clashes erupt in Libya despite ceasefire

EPA-EFE/STRINGER
Militants, reportedly from the Misrata militia, prepare their weapons and ammunition before heading to the frontline to join forces defending the capital, in Tripoli, Libya, 08 April 2019. Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar on 04 April ordered Libyan forces loyal to him to take the capital Tripoli, held by a UN-backed unity government, sparking fears of further escalation in the country. The UN said thousands had fled the fighting in Tripoli, while ministry of health reported 25 people, including civilians, were killed in the fighting.

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At least three people were killed and more than two dozen wounded in Libya, in warlord Khalifa Haftar’s surprise offensive. His forces advanced 120 kilometers east of Misrata city and seized the town of Abugrein, which was under the control of the GNA, whose seat is in the capital, Tripoli.
Libya is divided in two rival governments. Its UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), who is backed by Turkey, is in conflict with Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA), backed by Russia, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates.
Since September, Russia and Turkey have been mediating a ceasefire in an effort to put an end to the conflict. The negotiations, known as the Berlin peace process, were held with the participation of France, Italy, Germany, and the UK. However, Haftar rejected the ceasefire.
A LNA source said “we captured a number of [GNA] militiamen” during the fighting. Misrata is Libya’s second-largest city and home to militias who oppose Haftar.
“Over the last 10 days, numerous cargo and other flights have been observed landing at Libyan airports in the western and eastern parts of the country providing the parties with advanced weapons, armoured vehicles, advisers and fighters”, the United Nations said in a statement.
Recently, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that Libya’s civil war has become a playground for foreign forces in North Africa and threatens to spill over into the Sahel and Lake Chad regions.

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