As death, wounded and displaced numbers rise, Serraj blames Hafter for destroying political process, refuses return to status quo ante
By Sami Zaptia.
London, 2 May 2019:
As the armed conflict in Tripoli continues into its fourth week and into the month of May, the final toll for all of April is put at 376 dead (23 civilians) and 1,822 wounded (79 civilians) by the World Health Organization. WHO joined the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs office in Libya (OCHA) as well as other groups in calling for an immediate ceasefire.
Meanwhile, speaking this morning at the opening of a cabinet meeting in Tripoli, Libya’s internationally recognized head of the Presidency Council of the Government of National Accord, Faiez Serraj, explained the position of his administration on calls for a ceasefire and the return of the political process.
Beginning with the situation on the ground, Serraj emphasized that ‘‘Libya’s youth were desperate to defend their capital and the civil state project’’, and that conditions on the ground were ‘‘good’’ thanks to the youth who gave their souls for the sake of a homeland.
As for the political situation, Serraj said that there has been a lot of talk about the ceasefire and the political process, adding “We have made clear our position to all internal and external parties that any talk of a ceasefire must be linked to the withdrawal of the aggressor force and its return from where it came from, without which any talk becomes absurd.”
On the return to the political process, Serraj stated that ‘‘the situation before April 4 (the launch date of the Khalifa Hafter-led Libyan National Army (LNA) attack on Tripoli) is quite different from the situation after this date’’.
He added that ‘‘there are variables. We did not let the political process blow up, but we were one of the parties to the political process and we are working to continue it and continue consultations. But there are those who blew up the political process and caused significant damage to the social fabric in addition to the material and moral damage’’. He stressed that ‘‘the return to the political process would be different to what it was’’.
On the battle front, cat-and-mouse and to-and-fro fighting has continued mostly on the south west and southern edges of greater Tripoli. As both sides fail to impose their will on the battlefield, the Serraj GNA aligned forces confirmed fighting in the Sbea, Wadi Rabea and Yarmouk areas. They accused the Hafter forces of an air strike on the Hadba Military College as well as claiming ‘‘inhumane’’ acts committed against captured pro-GNA prisoners.