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Libya: Govt strikes deal with militias, regular forces will police Tripoli again

For illuustration purposes: Forces loyal to Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, one of Libya’s two rival prime ministers, secure the streets of the capital, Tripoli, Tuesday May, 17, 2022.   -  
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Yousef Murad/Yousef Murad


Armed groups that have been controlling Libya's capital for more than a decade have agreed to leave.

The Interior minister who is part of the UN-recognised government made the announced, on Wednesday.

In a press conference, Mr Trabelsi said from now on the militia's "place is in their headquarters", adding the Libyan government "will use them only in exceptional circumstances for specific missions".

He said once they had left the capital other cities would follow, noting there "will be no more checkpoints and no more armed groups" on roads.

The deal will see at least five armed groups quit Tripoli by the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on 9 April, including one based in an area where 10 people were killed over the weekend.

It comes after a series of deadly clashes in the city in recent months.

The militias with whom the government struck a deal are the General Security Force, the Special Deterrence Force, Brigade 444, Brigade 111 and the Stability Support Authority.

They are not under the direct command of the Libyan government, though. Their operational independence was granted by a special status conveyed on them in 2021 by the government.

The heavily armed and equipped groups who receive public funding would install checkpoints. But they were often involved in fighting each other, including one incident in August which left 55 people killed and nearly 150 injured.

Emergency police, city officers and criminal investigators will replace them, minister Imad Trabelsi said.

Policing vast Libya became even more of a challenge following a NATO-backed uprising and an operation which plunged the nation into chaos in 2011. The country has since been split between rival administrations, the internationally recognised government in the west, led by interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah in Tripoli, and an administration in the east run by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.

In mid-February the UN special envoy for Libya called the warring political actors to put aside "their interests" and work to solve the political crisis.

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