Politics & Economics

Families from Tawargha, Libya, return to their homes after years of displacement

North Africa

After 7 years of clashing the towns of Tawargha and Misrata finally sign a peace agreement which has allowed the return of many families back to their homes.

When the anti-government protests erupted in 2011 in Libya against Colonel Muammer al-Ghaddafi’s 42-year rule, recruits from the town of Tawargha, known to be a loyalist town attacked the rebel town of Misrata. The loyalists allegedly committed numerous war-crimes against its population including dismemberment and mutilation. As a result, when Ghaddafi’s regime fell, Misratan militants attacked Tawargha, displaced the population and left the city deserted. Misratan’s accused Tawaragh militants of pushing for a siege around their city that starved hundreds. The attack by Misratans forcefully displaced over 40,000 Tawarghans.

Since then, reconciliation efforts between the two towns have failed despite receiving presidential decrees. An agreement signed June 2017 for the return of Tawarghans to their city failed after militants from the Misratan militia, al-Bunyan al-Marsous blocked the convoy of Tawarghans from crossing any further. Later, an umbrella group of Misratan militias, the Misratan Military Council accused the returning Tawarghans of failing to to fulfill their side of the agreement.

However, after 7-years of conflict and displacement, representatives from the two towns met in the town of Misrata on June 3rd and signed an agreement which paves the way for the 40,000 displaced Tawarghans to return to their town.

The displaced Tawarghans have been living in tents for the past 7 years and suffering from poverty and an absence of aid.

Thus, upon receiving news of the agreement, thousands of Tawarghans began making their way back to their city. “Thank God, the reconciliation between us and our families in Misrata has taken place. We are now in the Qarayer area near al-Shura Mosque, we are in our town and people are coming from all directions,” said a Tawarghan citizen trying to return home.

The UN and National Human Rights Commission have welcomed this agreement and hoped that the Tawarghans can return to their city and begin the rebuilding process.