Misrata blocks return of Tawergha

By Jamie Prentis.

A deserted street in Tawergha after the residents "left of their own accord" (Photo: Archives from social media)

A deserted street in Tawergha (Photo: Archives from social media)

Tunis, 1 February 2018:

Misrata Municipal Council has urged the Presidency Council (PC) to postpone the return of Tawerghans to their town. On the day the seven-year displaced people of Tawergha were supposed to return, the council said a peace agreement between the town and Misrata had not been fully implemented.

In a statement early this morning the council accused “some parties” of not being interested in putting in place the deal, agreed in June.

Negotiations are on-going between Misrata, tribal elders, Tawergha and the PC to resolve the matter.

Under the deal, Tawergha and Misrata were supposed to receive compensation following the violent clashes between the two in the 2011 revolution. It is the lack of financial remuneration to Misrata that is understood to be one of the issues.

Yesterday the Islamist-dominated Misrata Military Council and the Association of the Families of Martyrs and Missing Persons issued similar statements. They were also annoyed that the bodies of Misratan fighters killed in 2011 had not been found and that certain Tawerghan fugitives remained at large.

A convoy of 100 Tawerghan families leaving from Ajdabiya were stopped near Bin Jawad on the road to Sirte. It is believed they were unable to receive permission from Bunyan Al-Marsous to cross any further.

Another 150 families remain in Bani Walid having lived in the town for some years. They were also preparing to leave for Tawergha.

The PC, meanwhile, accused unnamed parties of “seeking to undermine the agreement” and called on all those involved to work towards returning the people to Tawergha safely. It also said it remained committed to following through with the peace agreement and all its clauses.

Today’s debacle is just the latest example of displaced people not being allowed back to Tawergha. Protestors stormed the PC headquarters in December and accused the government of dragging its feet over their return.

During the 2011 revolution Tawergha largely supported Qaddafi and some fighters were accused of sexually assaulting Misratans and mutilating revolutionary fighters.

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