Militia clashes in the Janzour area of western Tripoli on Saturday led to damage to power lines and to the Tripoli West Fast Track power station, the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) and Janzour Municipality confirmed.
The clashes were between the Fursan Janzour (Janzour Knights) and the 55th Brigade, affiliated with the state recognized Support and Stability’s Apparatus led by Abdalghani Gnewa Al-Kikli.
Janzour Municipality accuses state recognized Support and Stability’s 55th Brigade of instigating clashes
Meanwhile, in a statement on the incident released yesterday, Janzour Municipality accused the 55th Brigade of instigating the clashes.
It expressed its astonishment at the lack of communication between the official authorities in the state for seven continuous hours of clashes with heavy and medium weapons.
It stated that the 55th Brigade intimidated civilians and sabotaged their property as a result of Saturday evening’s clashes west of Tripoli.
The Municipality said that the 55th Brigade headed by Muammar al-Dhawi began its “treacherous’’ attack with three armoured cars on a joint patrol belonging to the security authorities in Janzour Municipality. These patrols were working to secure the city of Janzour and the attack led to the injury of several patrol members, the council said.
‘‘Criminal’’ militias setting up fake checkpoints
The council said that ‘‘criminal militia groups’’ have been working over the past period to set up fraudulent checkpoints at the dairy factory and the Al-Dawadi intersection to practice robbery, which prompted security authorities to set up their own security checkpoints.
Call to dissolve militias
The Municipality called on the official state authorities, led by the Prime Minister and Chief of Staff, to assume their responsibilities in taking legal and executive measures to dissolve these groups, and refer the criminals to the judicial authorities.
Tripoli West ‘‘Fast Track’’ power station
Meanwhile, GECOL reported that damage to overhead distribution lines and the Tripoli West Fast Track power station have led to a halt in the work of the station by the foreign contractors. It is unclear when they will return to work.
GECOL said the damage and clashes will lead to a delay in completion of the power station. The station had been earmarked as a ‘‘fast track’’ project, receiving political and administrative priority. It was meant to be completed by the end of this month – before the start of the summer peak demand season. It was meant to play a huge part in preventing the annual reoccurrence of lengthy power cuts. Incumbent Caretaker Prime Minister, Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba had staked his reputation on the ‘‘Fast Track’’ projects.
The official state discusses the Janzour militia clashes
In response to the clashes and embarrassing widespread criticism of inaction, the Deputy of the Presidential Council, Abdalla Al-Lafi, in his capacity as the Supreme Commander of the Libyan Army, discussed held a meeting with the Caretaker Prime Minister Abd Alhamid Aldabaiba, in his role as Defence Minister, as well as the Chief of the General Staff of the Army Mohamed Al-Haddad and the Chiefs of Staff.
The official report said they discussed the military and security situation and the armed clashes that took place in the Janzour area.
The militia clashes in Janzour are yet another clash between state recognized and state funded militias that have occurred since the 2011 revolution that overthrew the Qaddafi regime.
The militia clashes continue to show how various militias across Libya can still act with total impunity to the detriment of civilians and state property – without any fear of any comeback from the official state.
The Janzour clashes underline the weakness of the numerous interim Libyan governments since 2011 and the need for strong government and state institutions.
It could be argued that the militia clashes also underscore the need for constitutionally based elections to be held to create a strong government with a strong mandate and legitimacy in order to face-off the various militias.
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