Clashes erupted in different parts of Libya’s capital Tripoli after the parliament-approved government, headed by Fathi Bashagha, entered the city, forcing the new Prime Minister to leave the capital just hours after the arrival.
The violence took place on Tuesday, Xinhua news agency reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, Bashagha, accompanied by a number of Ministers, arrived in Tripoli “in preparation for the start of his government’s work there,” according to a statement by the new government’s information office.
Shortly afterward, clashes erupted across central Tripoli between armed groups affiliated with Bashagha’s government and others supported by the provisional Government of National Unity headed by Prime Minister Abdul-Hamid Dbeibah, according to local residents.
No information is available about casualties yet.
The Government of National Unity on Tuesday condemned the entry, describing it as an “illegal armed group” attempting to enter the capital.
“The residents of the capital Tripoli were surprised today to see an illegal armed group attempting to sneak into Tripoli at night, desperately trying to spread panic and chaos with the use of weapons and violence,” the Government of National Unity said in a statement.
The government also demanded all international parties condemn “those acts and consider who commits them not fit to be a part of any political dialogue.”
Stephanie Williams, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Libya, on Tuesday, stressed the need to preserve calm on the ground and protect civilians.
“Conflict cannot be solved with violence, but with dialogue and mediation, and to this end, the good offices of the United Nations remain available to all parties who believe in helping Libya find a genuine, consensual way forward toward stability and elections,” Williams said.
Bashagha’s government was appointed by the House of Representatives in February. However, Dbeibah refuses to hand over power, saying his government would continue working and only hand over office to an elected government.
Libya has been suffering political instability and chaos ever since the fall of the late leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.