Libya militias agree to end clashes south of capital

Libya militias agree to end clashes south of capital
Rival Libyan militias have agreed to a truce after nearly a week of deadly clashes south of the capital Tripoli.
2 min read
21 January, 2019
The clashes since Wednesday have left 16 people dead (Getty)
Rival Libyan militias agreed to a new ceasefire Monday aimed at halting nearly a week of deadly clashes  south of the capital Tripoli, officials said.

Fighting has pitched armed groups from the capital against the Seventh Brigade, a militia from the town of Tarhuna southeast of Tripoli.

The clashes since Wednesday have left 16 people dead and 65 others wounded, according to the health ministry.

Under the truce, signed in the capital by officials from Tripoli and Tarhuna, fighters from the Tripoli Protection Force and the Seventh Brigade are to withdraw to their respective cities.

The deal also envisions a prisoner swap and an exchange of bodies of fighters killed in the clashes.

It was agreed after mediation by officials from the town of Bani Walid, 170 southeast (105 miles) of the capital.

UN mission in Libya head Ghassan Salame called tribal leaders in Bani Walid to thank them for their efforts and said he hoped for "the success and sincere application of the agreement", the mission said on Twitter.

The latest fighting follows clashes in and around Tripoli that killed at least 117 people and wounded more than 400 between late August and late September.

Libya has been torn between rival administrations and a myriad of militias since the overthrow and killing of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

The main armed groups in Tripoli say they are loyal to the internationally backed Government of National Accord, but officials have struggled to exert real control over the fighters.

The GNA announced security reforms in the wake of the bloodshed last year, aimed at curbing the power of militias in the capital.

A rival administration in the east of Libya is backed by strongman Khalifa Haftar and his self-proclaimed Libyan National Army.