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Al-Hamada rally returns to the Libyan desert

Al-Hamada rally in the Libyan desert   -  
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MAHMUD TURKIA/AFP or licensors -

Libya

The race is on in the Libyan desert after years of turmoil.

Some 30 quad bikes, motorcycles and four-wheel vehicles are participating in the Al-Hamada rally, the third event of its kind since the launch in 2013.

The organisers claim this marks a return to normality.

"The message is that I was able to bring together competitors from abroad, or from outside Libya, to come here and be able to attend. Our message to the world is that our country is moving towards stability and we're working on holding big events in the future", said rally organiser Khaled Drera

Competitors from Libya and Tunisia have taken to the drivers' seats, one of them a woman, a first in a Libyan rally.

"My love for motor sports came from my father, who was passionate about them. When I was young, I was in love with motor sports and I participated in a number of motorcycle events, and once took part in a car rally o n a road and not in the desert. I participated in the Fenix International Rally in Tunisia, which was in a desert", said the 29 year-old Shaima Ben Ammou, Tunisian competitor and first female to compete in a rally in Libya.

Despite the general sense of optimism, the situation in Libya remains tense.

Two rival governments have been vying for power, one based in the capital Tripoli in the country's west, and the other appointed by the parliament, based in the east.

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