Clashes between rival militias cause panic in Tripoli

By Libya Herald reporter.

Tripoli, 9 April 2017:

At least one person was killed and a number of others injured today in central Tripoli when two rival local militias battled it out for control of the area.

The two ­– the Nawasi brigade, which controls much the corniche from the Libyana headquarters near Busetta to Suq Al-Thalath on the west side of the city and which is trying to expand its zone, and the Ghazewy brigade, based in the Old City, have been rivals for some time. One area of contention has been their relationships with black market currency dealers. Some are protected by Nawasi, others by Ghazewy.

The situation spiralled out of control today when a woman queueing at a bank off Martyrs’ Square was reported shot dead by one of the militias. It has not been disclosed which militia or which bank, although there are reports of attempts to arrest a member of the Ghazewy.

There were clashes near Busetta and near the Corinthia Hotel, and both militias called on their supporters to be ready for a major confrontation. Somehow, however, the situation calmed down during the afternoon, without any obvious reason.

Meanwhile, both Dreibi district and the Airport Road saw tanks and other heavy weapons appear on the streets but residents say they heard no shooting.

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