Tentative truce in Libya capital after militia clashes kill 27

TRIPOLI - Gun battles between two leading armed groups in the Libyan capital Tripoli have killed 27 people and wounded 106, med­ics said Wednesday, as a tentative truce took hold. The clashes be­tween the influential 444 Brigade and the Al-Radaa, or Special Deterrence Force, two of the myriad of mi­litias that have vied for power since the overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kad­hafi in 2011, erupted on Monday night and raged through Tuesday. 

A total of 234 fami­lies were evacuated from frontline areas in the capital’s southern suburbs, along with dozens of doctors and paramedics who had got trapped by the fighting while caring for the wounded, the Emergency Medicine Centre said. Three field hospitals and a fleet of around 60 ambulances had been deployed to the area after the fight­ing broke out. 

The clashes were triggered by the deten­tion of the head of the 444 Brigade, Colonel Mahmud Hamza, by the rival Al-Radaa Force on Monday, an interior ministry official said. 

Late Tuesday, the social council in the southeastern suburb of Soug el-Joumaa, a stronghold of the Al-Radaa force, an­nounced an agreement had been reached with Prime Minister Abdel­hamid Dbeibah, head of the UN-recognised government based in the capital, for Hamza to be handed over to a “neutral party”. 

In a televised an­nouncement, the coun­cil said a ceasefire would follow the trans­fer of the force’s com­mander and late Tues­day the fighting abated. 

Both armed groups are aligned with Dbeibah’s government, one of two rival admin­istrations that vie for power through shifting alliances with the mili­tias on the ground. 

Overnight, Dbeibah visited the southeast­ern suburb of Ain Zara, which saw some of the heaviest fighting on Tuesday, accompanied by Interior Minister Imed Trabelsi.

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