By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 2 February 2017:
Heavy clashes in the far west Tripoli district of Janzour near Bridge 17 broke out tonight between Wirshefana militias and the Fursan Janzour brigade, with some sources suggesting up five people have been killed and 15 wounded.
The fighting over control of the bridge, currently held by the Fursan Janzour (“Janzour Knights”), is said to have started after an individual, allegedly a Wirshefani, was caught trying to steal a vehicle close to the bridge.
The Janzour Knights supposedly support the Presidency Council although they were formerly part of the former Libya Dawn alliance, while the Wirshefana forces back Khalifa Hafter. The latter want to take over the bridge and the surrounding area. They also regard Janzour as part of “their” area, although many residents are originally from the Jebel Nafusa.
Meanwhile in what is a loosely related development in Tripoli’s upmarket Hay Andalus district, just west of the city centre, security vehicles have now been seen carrying stickers denoting them to be under the authority of the so-called National Salvation Government of Khalifa Ghwell.
The move is linked to the current rivalry between the so-called Hay Andalus Defence Operations Room which is part of the Mobile Forces militia, itself mainly based in Janzour and the Rada (“Deterrence”) force which backs the Presidency Council.
Tensions have been rising in Hay Andalus over the past fortnight following the arrest by Rada of the operations room’s leader, Adel Sifau (also known as Shita). He is accused of drug dealing, kidnapping and numerous other crimes. A week ago, locals closed roads, demanding the removal of the operations room.
They also claimed that operations room militiamen and the Mobile Forces which were previously part of Libya Dawn alliance were now again backing Ghwell.
“The mobile forces are with the National Salvation Government and Ghwell because they are largely Amazigh and need allies against Rada,” said one local comentator. “They want the help of Salah Badi [a major ally of Ghwell] and his Samoud Front,” he added.