By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 30 August 2017:
Gunfire is a regular enough event in Tripoli for it not to panic anyone – unless it happens to be just where you are.
And today, one of Libya Herald’s reporters in Tripoli happened to be where it was.
It seemed perfectly a normal setting at the crossroads in Fashloom district just by the traffic lights. The street was very busy, full of shoppers preparing for Eid Al-Adha.
There were a couple of police vehicles belong to central security – sometimes they stop cars and ask motorists for their documents and sometimes they organise the traffic.
Suddenly, shooting was heard and people started running from where it was coming from. Everything went crazy. There were men dressed in civilian cloathing carrying heavy weapons chasing an armed man in front of National and Commercial Bank just next to the traffic lights.
I was buying bread from the busy bakery but within what seem just a second it was full of frightened people. Women and children were screaming and running; motorists were driving fast in the opposite direction in an attempt to escape.’
I saw three people, seemingly civilians but with weapons, trying to control the man. Nearby three or four women, trapped in their car, were screaming; the shooting was very near their vehicle.
The armed man was shot in his leg and held by the gunmen but they then started shooting in the air in a crazy way, shouting at people to leave.
The police cars had not needed to be told. They had already vanished.
The whole place became almost like a desert in just twenty minutes.
What the problem had been no one knew. It was just another incident in Tripoli.
Afterwards, one local focused his anger about the situation on the UN and the new envoy Ghassan Salamé.
“The new envoy of UN to Libya needs to think before claiming that in Tripoli and in other parts of the country the security situation has improved. Does the UN have a different definition of security?”
Violence, he said bitterly, remained a constant fact of life in Tripoli because of the militias.