Twenty-seven people were killed and around a hundred wounded in violent clashes between two influential armed groups in Tripoli’s southeastern suburbs from Monday to Tuesday, the Center for Emergency Medicine (CMU) said on Wednesday.
In a “provisional toll” published on Facebook on Tuesday night, this agency, which manages relief efforts in western Libya, reported 27 dead and 106 wounded in the heavy-weapons clashes between two influential armed groups in the Libyan capital.
According to the same source, 234 families have been rescued and extracted, as well as several dozen foreign doctors and nurses, who had been stranded since Monday night in the fighting south of the capital.
Three field hospitals and some sixty ambulances were mobilized to rescue the wounded and evacuate civilians to safer areas.
The fighting started after the arrest on Monday of Colonel Mahmoud Hamza, commander of Brigade 444, by the al-Radaa force. No information has yet been given on the reasons for his arrest.
Late on Tuesday, the “social council”, made up of notables and influential figures from Soug el-Joumaa, an area in south-east Tripoli and stronghold of the al-Radaa force, announced that it had reached an agreement with the head of the Tripoli-based government, Abdelhamid Dbeibah, to transfer Colonel Mahmoud Hamza to an unnamed “neutral party”.
In a statement read out on television by its dean, the council indicated that de-escalation and a ceasefire would follow this measure, which led to a return to calm in Tripoli on Tuesday night.
Heavy and medium weapons fighting broke out on Monday night and continued until Tuesday evening between the “Brigade 444” and the “Force al-Radaa” in several sectors of the south-eastern suburbs of the Libyan capital, with indiscriminate fire hitting inhabited areas.
These two groups are among the most influential in Tripoli, which is home to one of the two governments vying for power in a country undermined since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011 by divisions fueled by the proliferation of armed groups with shifting allegiances.