Clashes Around Ministry of Labour Building in Tripoli

Jan 24, 2017 | Libyan actors

In Tripoli, sporadic clashes took place last week between various militias affiliated with the Government of National Accord (GNA), and other hard-line anti-Haftar, Islamist militias nominally loyal to Khalifa al-Ghwell. A new armed group called the Serraj Protection Company (SPC) was formed by the Mobile Forces militia. SPC aims to secure Tripoli’s Serraj area. New roadblocks were set up on the second ring road highway at the Ghot Shaal roundabout and Ghiran roundabout. The Hay al-Andalus area also remains barricaded at many access points and the area remains unstable.

Other tensions between the Abu Salim Central Security militia, headed by Abdelghani al-Kikli aka Ghniwa (nominally affiliated to the GNA), and Misratan militias loyal to Khalifa al-Ghwell are also at boiling point in the Airport Road/Salaheddin area. Ghniwa’s forces attempted to retake control of the Ministry of Labor buildings at Hadba near the Military Academy buildings. The MoL building was taken over by al-Ghwell’s militias last week in an attempted ‘coup’. Brief clashes broke out in the area, with one fatality among al-Ghwell’s forces. On 22 January, al-Ghwell’s forces mobilised two tanks in front of the Rixos Hotel complex (which they have controlled since October), along with sand barriers and road blocks. Local sources report that Ghwell’s forces are in a state of high alert with checkpoints and weapons mobilised in the area.

On 17 January, a number of mayors from municipalities in southern Libya demanded the withdrawal of the Misratan-led Third Force from the region. Informed sources say that Misratan leaders are considering withdrawal. Just a day before, 16 House of Representatives (HoR) members from southern Libya suspended their membership from the body in protest. The Third Force is led by Misrata but in fact includes fighters from many other tribes in the south, including primarily Hasawna, Awlad Suliman, and Tuareg. Jamal al-Treki, commander of the Third Force, denies they had prevented supplies from reaching parts of southern Libya, accusing the LNA of being responsible for this.

Efforts to amend the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), both by pro and anti- Government of National Accord (GNA) factions in the House of Representatives (HoR), are gaining momentum after HoR members met on 17 January in Tubruk. A full quorum HoR session is expected to be held on 24 January to discuss amending the LPA, providing a potential route out of Libya’s long standing political impasse. On 22 January, the Libyan Political Dialogue group met in Tunis to discuss amending the LPA, but no breakthroughs were achieved.