By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 26 August 2013:
A peace deal agreed in principal by leaders of Zawia and Warshefana early on Sunday has . . .[restrict]been put in jeopardy by Warshefana militiamen who last night seized 11 people from Zawia. According to the leader of Zawia Local Council, Mohamed Khadrawi, the 11 were civilians, not members of any brigade, and had been kidnapped at checkpoints set up by Warshefana units on the roads between Zawia and the Warshefana area.
The two neighbouring communities have a long history of rivalry.
Speaking this afternoon, Khadrawi said that negotiations were now taking place with Warshefana elders to secure the detainees’ release. He was confident they would be freed. Earlier on Saturday, he noted, two other Zawian detainees, had been released by the Warshefana. The Warshefana elders had been, be said, “very helpful” and were making “great efforts” to resolve the issues between the two sides.
Yesterday, it was announced that the Warshefana elders and leaders from Zawia had met separately with mediators from Misrata, eastern Libya and the Jebel Nafusa and agreed to release detainees captured during Friday’s and Saturday’s fighting, to refer the dispute as to where the boundary between the two areas should be drawn, to set up a peacemaking body to resolve issues between the two communities and to the deployment of third-party forces in flash-point areas. The two neighbouring communities also agreed to launch investigations into the deaths of those killed as a result of the conflict between them.
According to an announcement from Warshefana Shoura Council yesterday, it had met late Saturday night until 5am on Sunday morning with mediators from Misrata and the Eastern Region National Unity Forum along with elders from Zintan, Jadu, Rujban, Rigdaleen and Yefran. The meeting is said to have unanimously agreed that the country’s safety and stability were of utmost importance to all Libyans and that, as such, there had to be a ceasefire between the battling neighbours.
The Shoura Council also said that following a meeting of Zawia leaders with the mediators, Zawia had also agreed on the need for a fundamental reconciliation between the two sides.