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Two leading Tripoli militias clash in town centre

Two of Tripoli’s leading state-recognized militias, Ghnewa Kikli’s Support and Stability Agency and the the Nuwasi Brigade, clashed in central Tripoli last night. It is still unclear what the cause of the clash was.

The clashes seemed to be very limited in number and confined geographically. They occurred between 10 and 11 pm near the Passports office in the Sreem street area. There have been no reports of injuries or fatalities to either militiamen or civilians. Social media photographs circulating around the time of the clashes showed a huge plume of smoke.

Libya Herald attempted to enter the area between 11pm and midnight but were prevented by a wide circular security cordon thrown by the Support and Stability units. It stretched in the direction of Sreem Street from Sug Il Thlat to Omar Mukhtar Street and the relevant part of Al-Naser Street.
Ghnewa Kikli’s Support and Stability militia imposed a wide cordon at roads leading to the Sreem area where the militia clashes took place, preventing civilians from entering the area (Google Maps).

Visiting the clash site this morning, there seemed to be no apparent collateral damage. There were, however, several charred patches of tarmac near the Sreem Street flyover and near the Al-Naser Street entrance. At these spots, security vehicles are usually stationed to guard the Passports officer. The scorched patches of tarmac could indicate the reported burning militia vehicles. In any case, any damaged or destroyed vehicles had been long removed.

Ghnewa’s Support and Stability militia quickly put out a statement saying the incident was “nothing more than a simple dispute between brothers.’’ It added that it was ‘‘controlled and resolved with the intervention of the wise.”

It accused the media of “amplification and intimidation” of the incident, and called on it to ‘‘refrain from sowing seeds of discord between brothers.’’

The Bashagha v Aldabaiba angle?

There was speculation last night that the clashes were part of the wider Aldabaiba-Bashagha battle for power. This speculation is unsupported by any concrete evidence. The incident seems to be purely an intra-militia clash. It was too small and isolated to have any wider political ramifications.

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