Heavy fighting resumes in Zawiyya between Baroun and Abu Zuriba following murder

May 17, 2024 | Libyan actors

On 17 May, five people, four young men and one woman, were abducted from their homes in Zawiyya – al-Sayyida al-Zeinab (southeast of the city centre, about 1.5 km south of the coastal road) and murdered. Their bodies were found in the early evening in a car in Zawiyya – al-Harsha (west of the city centre) near the Post Office. The murdered individuals belong to the Awlad Abu Hmeira tribe. In response, more than a hundred protesters gathered in front of the Zawiyya Security Directorate to protest against the incident and the insecurity in the city.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Western Branch, in cooperation with other security agencies, was able to arrest three suspects. The detainees belonged to the First Support Force of Muhammed al-Baroun (aka al-Far). Subsequently, the HQ of the CID was attacked by a group of gunmen who demanded the release of the suspects. Through the mediation of Nobles & Eldesr, the suspects were handed over to the Attorney General of Zawiyya to verify if the suspects are guilty. It is not known whether the First Support Force murder suspects are still in custody.

On 18 May, in several areas in the southeast of Zawiyya, heavy fighting developed between the militias of al-Far and the militias of Awlad Abu Hmeira led by the deputy commander of the Zawiyya branch of the Stability Support Apparatus (SSA) Muhammed Hassan Abu Zuriba.

In the afternoon, the Zawiyya Council of Elders & Notables brokered a ceasefire between the fighting militias. It was agreed that the relevant security and judicial authorities would investigate the cause of the fighting and arrest those responsible. The head of the Council, Muhammed Khamaj, accused the rival security services of being responsible for the fighting in the residential areas. He emphasized that the state’s official bodies must take responsibility for the situation in the city, which has been deteriorating for a long time.

The fighting reportedly resulted in two dead and 22 wounded, including several uninvolved persons. Several houses, stores and cars were damaged or destroyed. GECOL reported that the power grid was damaged in the course of the fighting. This includes two smaller power stations. There were power cuts in the south of the city. By 19 May, the situation in Zawiya was calm but tense.