By Hadi Fornaji,
Tunis, 20 June 2017:
The position of Zintanis seeking to return to their homes in Tripoli was discussed today by the head of the Presidency Council Faiez Serraj and delegation from the town’s displaced peoples committee.
Ways of ensuring a safe return plus compensation for damage to property were among the issues covered.
According to the mayor of Zintan, Mustafa Albaroni, the town has some 20,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), mostly from Tripoli and who fled back to the mountain town three years ago when the hardline Libya Dawn alliance took over the capital. Many of them had lived in the capital almost all their lives.
With the hardliners linked to the former Libya Dawn regime pushed out of the capital last month, the Zintanis now feel they can think about returning.
“Some started to return last month,” he told the Libya Herald, but the vast bulk still were in Zintan.
Homes in the city had been burned, damaged or robbed, cars and other vehicles stolen, and shops and businesses looted or destroyed, he said. In addition, many ZIntanis had lost their jobs, having been sacked by the Libya Dawn regime and replaced, Baroni stated, by people from Misrata, Zuwara, Gharian and other places. They needed to be given their jobs back as well, he insisted.
The right of internally displaced people to return to their homes, regardless of where they are in the country, is widely seen as the foundation stone for reconciliation in Libya. According to the International Organization for Migration, in its most recent report, there were just over 240,000 IDPs in Libya as of 7 May. According to it, there were just over 10,000 IDPs in Zintan – half the figure quoted by the mayor.
The reason for the difference is thought to be the fact that many who fled the capital had homes or relatives in Zintan and did not register as displaced.