Libyan Twitter users document unfolding violence in Tripoli

Published December 4th, 2016 - 02:09 GMT
Column of smoke billowing over Tripoli.. (AFP/File)
Column of smoke billowing over Tripoli.. (AFP/File)

Over the weekend, Tripoli experienced the worst outbreak of fighting in over two years, as rebel militias battled it out in the Libyan capital.

According to the BBC, over eight people, including civilians, have been killed and dozens injured as  the city's largest and most heavily armed militias fight an alliance of hard-line Islamists and militias loyal to rival political authorities.

Yet, apart from a couple of short reports, mainstream media was largely quiet on the intense escalation of violence in the north African country. As the world focuses on the battles of Aleppo and Mosul, the conflict in Libya appears to have been forgotten.

However, this is being combatted through the power of social media, with Libyan Twitter users taking to the platform to shed light on the battle in Tripoli and document the unfolding events in the city.

Videos online show black smoke rising in the air, photographs depict armed men patrolling the streets and homes burning, while others tweet reports on the sounds of heavy artillery echoing throughout the city.

Given the minimal media coverage, Twitter appears to be the best source for news from the region:

U.N. Libya envoy Martin Kobler said he was "extremely alarmed" by the clashes. "We are in contact with the parties on the ground to urge an immediate end to this fighting." He took to Twitter to condemn the violence:

Thankfully, calm now appears to have been restored in the city, following reports of a peace deal between the armed groups.

The escalation of violence is the latest in a  string of setbacks for the U.N backed Government of National Accord, which arrived in the capital in March with the acquiescence of some powerful armed factions but has struggled to assert its authority.

Tripoli is controlled by an array of armed groups who clash over territorial control or economic interests. While some groups have a semi-official status, no government has managed to firmly establish their authority since the uprising that toppled Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi five years ago.

With Libya’s political landscape in a state of disarray, it remains uncertain what is in store for Tripoli and its citizens. But in the mean time, many continue to take to social media, documenting the unfolding events and preventing the world from turning a blind eye.




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