Sunday, May 18, 2014

Libya: Update--Travelers Urged to Avoid Tripoli, Benghazi After Unexplained Hostilities Break Out

According to Reuters, heavy gunfire from anti-aircraft weapons and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) could be heard near the Parliament in Libya's capital Tripoli on Sunday (May 18), residents said.

Local television station al-Nabaa said clashes had erupted in the south of the capital, without giving details.

One resident said clashes were taking places near the General National Congress Assembly, though it was unclear as to whom was responsible for the hostile fire.

Shops in the area are closing as merchants become frightened as to the source of hostilities.

COMMENT: Needless to say, foreign travelers are urged to defer travel to Libya until such time as current hostilities can be explained and stabilized. 

It is also very strange that the PM's office has made no official announcements re: the unexplained gunfire and resulting fatalities.

Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq has formed a government pending Parliamentary approval this week, officials said on Sunday, after the country went nearly two months without a functioning government.

In a bizarre development, gunfire broke out in the capital after more than 70 people were killed on Friday (May 16) in clashes between irregular army forces and Islamist militants in Benghazi. 

Tripoli has been spared the sort of violence seen in Benghazi, but more than 40 people were killed in November during clashes between militias and armed citizens.

Libya is struggling with chaos as its central government, Parliament and armed forces are seemingly unable to impose their authority over brigades of former rebels and militias who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, but now defy the state.