Clashes break out in Benghazi as LNA attempts to seize Barghati

Oct 6, 2023 | Libyan actors

On the evening of 6 October, clashes reportedly broke out in the Salmani area of Benghazi between the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Tariq Bin Ziyad Brigade (TBZ) and supporters of Mahdi al-Barghati mainly from his Awagir tribe, including members of the 204 Brigade which he used to lead. Barghati defected from the LNA several years ago and this was his first time returning to Benghazi since then. The violence reportedly began after the TBZ attempted to arrest Barghati.

Shortly after clashes began, communications and internet access in the city were cut off and remained disrupted for several days afterwards. This limited the information coming out of the city and has made it difficult to confirm exactly what happened and what the current situation is. At the time of writing on 10 October, communications appeared to have been restored to Benghazi. Muhammed Baderi, a spokesperson for Libya’s state telecommunications company in Tripoli, said the communications blackout was due to cuts in the fibreoptic cable and would take time for maintenance teams working on it to repair.

Throughout the day after the initial clashes, negotiations reportedly took place to try to convince Barghati to surrender himself or leave the city.

It seems that by 8 October, Mahdi al-Barghathi’s units had been rounded up by the LNA, with operations to hunt down anti-LNA fighters continuing. Barghati’s fate remains unclear, with some sources reporting he had handed himself over and others reporting that Barghathi, alongside many other Awaqir men, were killed during the clashes.