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Talks underway to end fighting in Sebha

Forces allied to Libya’s rival administration are holding emergency ceasefire talks with tribal elders and armed groups in Sebha, after clashes erupted in the heart of the southern city killing at least six people.

Mohamed Gliwan, the spokesman of the Dawn-afilliated Third Force dispatched from Misrata to Sebha last year, told Libya’s Channel the agreement would see weapons removed from the city as well as a halt to the violence.

Fighting erupted on Friday when the Misratan fighters and its local ally the Ahrar Fezzan Brigade tried to quell a protest by supporters of toppled leader Muammar Gaddafi from in and around Sebha. The protest reportedly took place on Jamaa Square next to Sebha Vegetable market in the neighbourhood of Jadid.

Former regime loyalists in Sebha, as well as other Libyan cities, have been protesting against last month’s sentencing to death of Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and seven other Gaddafi-era officials.

Critics of the verdict, including also human rights groups and the official Libyan government, said the judge in the case had been pressurized to hand down the harshest punishment.

The court sessions were held in Dawn-controlled Tripoli, witnesses had been barred from ever speaking.

Protesters claimed Friday’s demonstration was unarmed and the Third Force opened fire on them without provocation killing four people – a charge the Third Force deny.

Spokesperson Gilwan told Libya Channel the “attacking forces” were the Gaddafi loyalists. He previously told other media that one Third Force member had been killed during the protest and four injured.

A number of civilians died in indiscriminate shelling between Sebha tribal forces over the weekend.

The city’s Municipal Council issued a statement yesterday calling on Sebha residents to lift roadblocks in their areas and inform the official security forces about any security breaches. The Council also reassured citizens that the situation was now “under control”.

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