LNA Accuses Militias of Breaking Tripoli Ceasefire

North Africa

The Libyan National Army (LNA) has accused armed militias of violating the terms of the ceasefire in Tripoli for the second day in a row. 

Major General Ahmed Al-Mismari, the spokesman for the Libyan National Army (LNA), has accused armed militias of violating the armistice in place in the capital Tripoli for the second consecutive day.

Al-Mismari stated that “terrorist militias” launched a rocket attack against LNA forces near Tarhunah, southeast of the capital, referring to fighters from the rival Government of National Accord (GNA), whose base is located in Tripoli. Militia groups affiliated with the GNA are also accused of carrying out bomb attacks on LNA positions in al-Hira, south of Tripoli.

However, the UN-backed GNA have in turn accused LNA forces of violating the ceasefire, after shelling areas near Tripoli, resulting in multiple casualties.

Last week the UN, along with a number of Arab and Western countries, called for a humanitarian truce between the commander of the LNA Khalifa Haftar and GNA-aligned forces in order to enable authorities to combat the coronavirus. Whilst there are yet to be any confirmed cases of the virus in Libya, authorities and aid organisations are keen to prevent an outbreak in the country. The GNA has also expressed its concern that foreign mercenaries sent by the regime in Syria, and allied with the LNA, may facilitate the spread of the virus.

Before the breaches to the agreement, the LNA had welcomed calls to end fighting for humanitarian purposes, announced its commitment to the truce.

Representatives of the UN have highlighted the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Libya given the already dire humanitarian situation in the country. The organisation called for a ceasefire to ensure unhindered access of humanitarian aid throughout the country. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the warring factions to accept the draft ceasefire agreement reached during UN-facilitated talks in Geneva in February.

The two sides have been in conflict since Haftar’s LNA launched an offensive in April last year to take control of the Libyan capital, Tripoli. His military campaign has mostly been thwarted by GNA-aligned forces, headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

In an effort to confront the threat of coronavirus, authorities in Libya have put in place a number of preventative measures. Schools and universities have been shut down, ports have been closed and a curfew has been enforced.