Tripoli, Nov 8 (AFP/APP): The UN mission to Libya Sunday deplored the “arbitrary detention” in Tripoli of individuals arriving from the country’s east as an attempt to “sabotage” efforts to bring citizens together following a ceasefire.
In the first week of November, “a number of individuals from the east who travelled to Tripoli were arbitrarily arrested by armed groups”, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said on Twitter. “At least one person was followed to his destination in Tripoli and then arrested, others were allegedly arrested at the airport upon arrival,” it added.
UNSMIL said it believed that “these actions aim to sabotage the good faith efforts to bring Libyans together, following the ceasefire agreement”. Libya has been in chaos since a 2011 uprising that toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. It has been dominated by armed groups and divided between two administrations that have long been bitterly opposed: the Government of National Accord in the capital Tripoli, and a rival administration in the east backed by strongman Khalifa Haftar.
The warring factions signed a “permanent ceasefire” last month after UN-sponsored talks, and this week rival Libyan military officers agreed on a road map for implementing the truce deal. The UN mission emphasised Libyans’ rights to freedom of movement and called for the immediate release of those detained. Commercial flights between the eastern city of Benghazi and Tripoli were suspended not long after Haftar launched a military campaign to take the capital in April 2019.
His forces were beaten back in June this year, and flights between Benghazi and Tripoli resumed in mid-October. GNA Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha “strongly condemned” the detentions, saying in a statement published on social media that proceedings had been launched against members of the armed group involved. Separately, the UN mission welcomed a Libyan Civil Aviation Authority decision on November 4 “to permit the resumption of flights to all airports in the southern region of Libya”.
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