Military Convoy’s Buildup Near Libyan Capital


On Thursday, rival military forces in Libya mobilized in and around Tripoli. This came as the Parliament-backed Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha announced that he would enter the city, and take office. The incumbent PM, Abdel-Hamid Dbaiba has refused to cede power, according to Reuters.

A large armed convoy affiliated with Bashagha, whom the Libyan Parliament swore in a week ago, moved towards Tripoli from Misrata. Military sources said they did not immediately attempt to make any moves into the city.

Any attempt to install Bashagha in the capital may ignite fighting between the rival parties.

On Tuesday, Bashagha announced that he would arrive in Tripoli within two days, promising to take over the government there peacefully.

Dbaiba, who was elected a year ago in a UN Peace Process, claimed he would only hand over power to an elected government.

A Reuters witness on the main Coastal Road said there were military vehicles and fighters stationed along the road. Traffic was moving normally, and there was no sign of clashes.

On Thursday, the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL) voiced its concern at what it called “reports about the mobilisation of forces, and the movement of large convoys of armed groups that have increased tensions in and around Tripoli”.

Libya has enjoyed a rare period of comparative calm, since the end of a 14-month assault on Tripoli in Summer 2020 by eastern forces. This led to a peace process backed by the United Nations.

In January, the Parliament declared Dbaiba’s government expired. A new transitional period under Bashagha was announced, with no elections until 2023.

The UN Libya adviser, Stephanie Williams told Reuters she was seeking to hold talks this month between the Parliament, and a rival legislative chamber on a legal and constitutional basis for elections.