The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on Saturday expressed concern over the ongoing clashes between armed groups in the capital Tripoli.
Clashes between backers of rival governments killed at least 13 people and damaged 6 hospitals in Libya’s capital Saturday, sparking fears that a political crisis could spiral into a major new conflict.
“The United Nations in Libya is deeply concerned about ongoing armed clashes including indiscriminate medium and heavy shelling in civilian-populated neighborhoods in Tripoli, reportedly causing civilian casualties and damage to civilian facilities including hospitals,” UNSMIL said in a statement.
The mission called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and reminded all parties of their “obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian objects.”
“It is imperative that all parties also refrain from using any form of hate speech and incitement to violence,” the statement said.
Heavy clashes erupted late on Friday in different areas of central Tripoli between armed groups affiliated to two rival governments.
Libya between Bashaga and Dbeibah
The Tripoli-based Government of National Unity condemned the clashes and accused the Prime Minister-designate Fathi Bashagha of “treachery and betrayal.”
The House of Representatives (parliament) in February appointed a new government headed by Bashagha.
However, the Tripoli-based Prime Minister Abdul-Hamed Dbeibah refused to hand over power, saying his government would continue working and only hand over office to an elected government.
Libya has been suffering political instability and chaos ever since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.