Rival Libya official Bashagha 'ready to use force' to enter Tripoli and seize power
Bashagha, who is designated by the House of Representatives, is seeking to seize Libya’s premiership and dislodge the internationally recognised Government of National Unity in Tripoli.
The rival PM was speaking to a council of elders in the west of his hometown Misrata on Friday - which has long been seen as a mainstay of support for Dbeibah’s government in Tripoli.
He said that he aims to “enter Tripoli peacefully to avoid bloodshed” but vowed that he is “ready to use force if Dbeibah resorts to such measures himself".
“The only people that support the government of Dbeibah are those seeking to protect their own interests,” Bashagha added.
This is not the first time Bashagha has threatened to force a way into the Libyan capital - through words or actions.
In late May, Bashagha arrived in the capital Tripoli in the country's west and attempted to take office there, sparking pre-dawn clashes between armed groups supporting him and those backing Dbeibah.
He backed down, he told AFP, to avoid bloodshed, but says he has since received "positive invitations" to enter the capital.
Then in early July, he informed journalists he planned to take up office in Tripoli “in the coming days”.
But earlier this week, Dbeibah had insisted that parliamentary elections were the only way to break the deadlock between Libya’s bitter rivals.
“This is the dream of all Libyans, and has become an urgent necessity, now more than ever,” said Dbeibah in a statement to parliament in Tripoli last monday.
The Government of National Unity is refusing to relinquish power before elections are held - a prospect that remains dim while political elites on all sides fear losing their grip on power in the process.