The U.S., France, Italy and Britain on Saturday condemned what they called an escalation of violence in and around the Libyan capital Tripoli, warning that armed groups which undermined Libyan stability would be made accountable.
“These attempts to weaken the legitimate Libyan authorities and hinder the ongoing political process are not acceptable,” Washington, Paris, Rome and London said in a joint statement published by the French foreign ministry.
“We are calling on the armed groups to immediately stop all military action and warn those who seek to undermine stability, in Tripoli or elsewhere in Libya, that they will be made accountable for it,” they said.
Libyan authorities closed Tripoli airport on Friday after some rockets were fired in its direction, a spokesman for the state airline Libyan Airlines said.
NAN reports that on Friday, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned that migrants had been left isolated and without access to food after nearly a week of clashes between warring militias in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
Libya’s health ministry said on Thursday that 30 people were killed and 96 injured as a result of clashes that broke out on Aug. 26.
The figures were released as fighting resumed on Thursday and the situation is likely to deteriorate.
“The fighting has further jeopardised the lives of an estimated 8,000 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who have been trapped and arbitrarily held in closed detention centres throughout the city,” MSF said.
“The recent fighting demonstrates that Libya is not a safe place for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers,” said Ibrahim Younis, the MSF head of mission in Libya.
“Many have fled from war-torn countries or have spent months in horrible conditions while being held by human traffickers before they were put in these closed detention centres.”
The UN refugee agency said it moved about 300 refugees and migrants out of a detention centre in Ain Zara, one of the focal points for conflict.
“Libya is not a safe country, and European governments must acknowledge their responsibility to help the most vulnerable people trapped in Libya,” MSF said.
It accused the Libyan administration, the UN and governments from safe countries of failing to establish an effective way to process asylum claims and it said some European countries had created policies that stopped asylum seekers from leaving Libya.
It called on these countries “to acknowledge Libya is not a place of safety” and to help those trapped in the conflict-ridden North African nation.
The Libyan Red Crescent said it had been unable to open safe passages for some in the south of Tripoli because of the intense fighting.
The UN-backed government in Tripoli tried to bring about a ceasefire and instructed two of its most senior military commanders to mediate between the militias.