Armed groups clash west of Libyan capital

Violent clashes rocked a western area of the Libyan capital overnight and until Sunday morning, an interior ministry source said, as local media reported the death of a militia commander. Janzour, on the western outskirts of Tripoli, is home to the headquarters of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya as well as guarded compounds reserved for staff of foreign diplomatic missions. “The clashes between armed groups broke out late Saturday night and continued until Sunday morning in the area between the towns of Sayyad and Janzour,” the ministry source told AFP, asking to remain anonymous. The fighting “damaged private homes” and for several hours forced the closure of the coastal road that runs from Tripoli to the Tunisian border, said the source who did not report any casualties. Local media reported the death of a commander of one of the groups in Sayyad, a small town about 25 kilometres (15 miles) west of Tripoli, killed by another armed group. On social networks, several unauthenticated videos showed gunfire between armed men using military vehicles near Janzour. Libya plunged into violent lawlessness in 2011 with the NATO-backed revolt that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi. Armed groups have vied for control of territory as a string of interim governments have come and gone. Many such groups have been integrated into the state, partly in order to access a share of the country’s vast oil wealth, and rights organisations have often accused them of abuses. The North African country is now once again split between two rival governments.

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