By Moutaz Ali.
Tripoli, 25 February 2017:
The Presidency Council (PC) said that it has managed to secure an initial ceasefire agreement by the militias fighting in Tripoli’s Abu Sleem district over the past two days.
Having said nothing for two days about the fighting, the PC issued a statement shortly after midnight. It said that it, together with elders fom Tarhouna, and members of the Supreme Counci for Reconciliation in Tripoli, had managed to mediate the deal.
The PC also stated that, since the breakout of clashes at Abu Sleem, it had been in continual contact with all relevant security organisations to stop the fighting and safe civilians’ lives.
It said also that it currently faced very serious security challenges as a result of which ordinary people were in fear. “We affirm our commitment to terminating the activities of the uncontrolled armed militias and force them out of the capital,” it added. It would also pursue them legally.
In its statement, the PC further reminded the international community of its commitment towards Libya, calling for urgent help to solve the country’s security problems.
It is not thought that the ceasefire will last. The two militias involved in the fighting in Abu Sleem – the forces of Abdul Ghani Al-Kikli (a.k.a “Ghneiwa”) and the Saleh Burki brigade – are bitter enemies, and respectively back the rival Presidency Council and the so-called government of national salvation of Khalifa Ghwell. The latter is determined to take over Abu Sleem, which is largely surrounded by its Libyan National Guard forces. Control of it would give it control over the strategic cross-town highway and the Airport Road.