Libya militias battle in Tripoli after commander’s arrest
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A clash between two powerful militias backing Libya’s UN-backed government has killed 55 people and injured 146 others, medics say.

Due to fierce fighting that erupted on Monday and continued into Tuesday, the city’s main airport had to close.

The fighting only subsided after one side released a commander who had been detained.

The Libyan government remains in chaos since Col Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown and killed in 2011.

Now, the country is effectively divided between an interim, internationally recognised government in Tripoli and another in the east.

Despite a ceasefire in 2020, factionalism on all sides constantly threatens to disrupt the peace.

In several districts of the capital, including Ain Zara in the south-east, fighting has trapped many people inside their homes. Violence broke out recently between brigades in Tripoli, where Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Mohammed Dbeibah is in charge.

On Monday, the Special Deterrence Force, which controls the airport, arrested a senior commander from the 444 Brigade.

Reuters reports that the commander was once an officer in a rival militia.

234 families were evacuated from frontline areas by Libya’s Emergency Medicine and Support Center, which deployed 60 ambulances and set up three field hospitals.

According to the AFP news agency, the prime minister intervened and managed to secure the commander’s release to a “neutral party”.

Later, he toured the affected neighbourhoods to assess the damage.

AFP reports that the airport reopened later on Wednesday.

As a result of these developments, the UN mission said it was concerned about the potential impact on preparations for elections, which were postponed two years ago.

It said in its statement that all parties must preserve the security gains achieved in recent years and address differences through dialogue.