By Walid Abdullah
TRIPOLI (AA) – The number of Libyans to have been displaced by on-again, off-again clashes in Tripoli — which first erupted late last month — has risen to 25,000, about half of them children, the UN children's fund (UNICEF) said Monday.
According to a statement released by the agency, weeks of clashes in Libya’s capital between rival militias have led to the displacement of some 1,200 families within the last 48 hours alone.
The latest displacements, the statement explained, bring the total number of displaced persons to more than 25,000 — roughly half of them children — since the clashes erupted on August 26.
On Sunday, clashes resumed in Tripoli between militias affiliated with Libya’s national unity government and rival armed groups.
The violence first erupted late last month after Libya’s so-called Seventh Brigade (affiliated with the Tripoli-based Defense Ministry) accused the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade, a rival group, of attacking its positions on the city’s southern outskirts.
On Sept. 4, a UN-brokered ceasefire brought a temporary halt to the fighting, which resumed six days later and has continued intermittently ever since.
Libya has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.
Since then, Libya’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — and a host of heavily armed militia groups.