The state recognised militia, Rada / Deterrence, headed by Abdelrauf Kara (rebranded the Deterrence Agency for Combating Terrorism and Organized Crime) and the Libyan Army 444 Combat Brigade clashed in central Tripoli last night.
There are no officially confirmed deaths, but social media claims one family caught in the Ras Hassan/Jraba area clashes suffered an injury.
It is reported that the clashes were over an arrest by the 444 of a member/associate of the Rada. The Rada reacted violently attempting to release the arrestee.
Calm was restored last night by the intervention of other officially recognised forces, including the Interior Ministry. Libya Herald conducted a quick drive through the clash area (Ras Hassan-Jraba Street) this morning. There was calm and life was back to (the Libyan) normal.
Speaking to local media on the scene last night, Acting Interior Minister Emad Trabelsi admitted that the clashes were between two state recognised forces. He said these things happen because of the spread of arms over the last ten years.
He said his ministry were following the incident between the forces since lunch time, referring to the forces as being part of the Chiefs of Staffs. He said non-violent interventions were used to defuse the situation and that his ministry can use force to end the clash but does not want to use force as the clash is between two state recognised forces.
This umpteenth clash in central Tripoli between state recognised militias/forces does not bode well for elections, the Tripoli based Libyan prime minister, Aldabaiba, or for Libya in general.
The international community led by UNSMIL head Abdoulaye Bathily have been busy doing the rounds hyping up the possibility of holding Libyan elections. Aldabaiba has been at pains to assure the outside world that Libya is safe and stable, and embassies and companies should return to Libya.
In Zawia and north-western Libya, Aldabaiba has been conducting drone strikes against so-called outlaws and attempting to impose centralised state order.
However, the reality is that the attempts to fake state control over ‘‘state-recognised’’ militias/forces by simply rebranding them and sticking labels on their vehicles has proved a fallacy. These militias are controlled by individual warlords and answer to their warlords not their state or government. Their members are not professional police or army. They are ex-militias that have been granted an official number and uniform.
The clashes confirm that the Libyan state still does not have a monopoly on the use of legitimate force. The state is often reactive rather than proactive to these clashes – and innocent, unarmed civilians are the victims.