A new accord has been struck for thousands of displaced Libyans to return home to a town that sided with former leader Moammar Gadhafi in the 2011 revolution, the country’s unity government said Monday.
The reconciliation deal was signed late Sunday by representatives of the pro-Gadhafi town of Tawergha and nearby Misrata, 240 kilometers southeast of the Libyan capital Tripoli.
Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord, welcomed the deal: “The return of the inhabitants of Tawergha to their town will mark the start of the return of all Libya’s displaced and exiles inside and outside the country,” Sarraj said on the GNA’s Facebook page.
The 35,000 residents of Tawergha, a town which sided with Gadhafi right up to his fall, were evicted after his overthrow and have since been kept in refugee camps on the outskirts of Tripoli or scattered across Libya.
Living in wretched conditions, they have been the frequent target of attacks by militiamen, especially from Misrata – a city that lost several hundreds of lives in the revolt against Gadhafi.
A date has yet to be announced for the return of residents to Tawergha. The deal calls for co-operation in the search for missing persons and mass graves, as well as a halt to negative media campaigns toward one another.
“This treaty aims to turn the page on the past with the neighboring residents in Tawergha and close the door to the trading of this issue by some parties, which aim to achieve regional or partisan political interests,” said Mustafa Karwad, head of Misrata’s municipal council.
An earlier accord with a return date of Feb. 1 saw hundreds of families in cars turned back at roadblocks manned by militiamen from Misrata who control the town.
Since then, the displaced have camped in the desert sleeping in tents donated by U.N. agencies or shelters provided by nearby towns.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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