By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli and Tunis 18 April 2015:
UNSMIL . . .[restrict]chief Bernardino Leon slammed the fighting in Tripoli as it appeared that Libya Dawn forces had checked pro-government fighters in Fashloum and Tajoura.
Leon condemned the death of civilians and the reported abduction of civilians as well as the burning of houses. He said that coming at an important stage in the dialogue in Skhirat in Morocco, there could be no justification whatsoever for the clashes taking place in Tripoli, nor for the continuing armed hostilities in other parts of the country.
It seems clear that after 12 hours of fighting, from the early this morning, Islamist fighters, mostly from the Nawasi Brigade, managed to gain control of Fashloum. Dawn sources said the violence began when drugs dealers attacked a checkpoint on the edge of the district. Libya Dawn has long characterised opponents in Fashloum as dope pedlars.
Armoured vehicles which had been ringing the area moved in from all sides. The sound of shelling could be heard for some hours. Shipping container barricades that the residents had used to block roads where nosed aside.
Video taken this afternoon showed bearded Islamist fighters moving through the district’s rubbish and debris-strewn streets, firing in the air and shouting “Allahu Akhbar”. Walls and shop front shutters that had earlier displayed graffiti in support of Karama, the Dignity Operation, seemed to have been quickly over-sprayed with black paint.
Locals reported arrests and beatings. There were some claims that a large number of men had been rounded up and taken to a Nawasi base at Mitiga. It has also been claimed that shops and homes of known government supporters were torched.
There is not yet an accurate figure for the dead and injured. UNSMIL referred to three civilian deaths including that of a 3 year-old girl. However, it has not been possible to confirm casualty details with hospitals.
Fashloum was tonight described as a ghost town. Many residents are said to have fled to friends and neighbours elsewhere in the capital. Pro-government gunmen may also have melted away. Earlier today the street fighting overflowed briefly into Ben Ashur with militiamen seen to grab at least two people. Bullets smashed into upstairs windows.
Fashloum residents are assumed to have been acting in support of pro-government forces in Tajoura to the east of the capital, where fighting entered a third day today. The locals were backing the 101 Battalion, one of whose bases has been in the military engineering school in Tajoura.
While few details of the fighting can be confirmed, it does appear this evening that the battalion has been driven from two of its three bases in the district. One report had it that resistance had collapsed completely.
It appears that beside the advancing Libya Dawn militias to the west of Tajoura, there was also an attack from the east by Misratan forces.
As in Fashloum, there is not yet a clear idea of casualties. A Dawn member claimed that that there had been two dead and four wounded among its militiamen. A Misratan source was claiming that when the 101 Battalion was pushed out of the military engineering college, the bodies of four kidnapped young Misratans were found there.
This evening pro-Dawn media were announcing that the 101 battalion was to be disbanded. Nuri Abu Sahmain, the president of the rump of the General National Congress was reported, as the Libyan Army commander-in-chief that he insists that he still is, to have ordered the units personnel and equipment to be moved into Tripoli. It was also said that he had launched an investigation into the 101’s senior commanders and their attempt to “destabilise Tripoli”.