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Libya unity government creates tense atmosphere

Libya unity government creates tense atmosphere


Tensions remain high in Libya as it awaits the unity government to be in full control of the country’s affairs.

A state of emergency was declared in the country on Friday, March 25, following reports that the UN-backed government would force its way to Tripoli to begin work, a move authorities in the capital are opposed to.

“There’s tension and people are tired … there are neither salaries nor money in the banks,” said Abou Ehad, a biology professor and resident in Tripoli.

The city is run by a broad alliance of Islamist militias, some of which are steadfastly opposed to the government of national accord brokered by the UN in December last year.

“The de facto government is not willing to agree to the demands of the population. This is a government imposed by external forces and Western powers,” said Salah al-Dernawi, who also resides in Tripoli.

Government officials warn that the forced entry to Tripoli could lead to fierce clashes between the different militia groups that control the capital.

According to the UN, the Islamic State which controls the coastal city of Sirte has a force of 3000 fighters.

The terrorist group has been pushing outward to the east towards Libya’s oil crucible and west towards the city of Misurata but has so far been held back by the forces loyal to the rival governments in Tripoli and Tobruk.

The international body has been pushing for the two sides to cede power to a unity government under a power-sharing deal announced in December 2015, but both have rejected the new authority headed by prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj.

Libya has had two rival administrations since mid-2014 when an armed alliance overran the capital, setting up its own authority and causing the government backed by the internationally recognised parliament to flee east.