29 March 2012 The United Nations mission in Libya has welcomed the ceasefire brokered in the south-western city of Sabha, where fighting in recent days has resulted in some 50 deaths, and called on all sides to address the underlying causes of the violence.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said reports from the Sabha Medical Center indicate that the fighting – reportedly between rival local militias – over the past four days has also resulted in the wounding of 167 people.
UNSMIL called on all parties to facilitate the treatment and evacuation of all wounded and to ensure the protection of civilians.
“It is critical that the Government and all sides take steps to further de-escalate the situation and address the underlying causes of this recent fighting,” the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of UNSMIL, Ian Martin, said in a statement.
Mr. Martin also appealed to all sides to resolve the situation through dialogue and peaceful means.
The Mission reports that, in coordination with the Sabha Local Council, the Libyan Red Crescent, security forces, and tribal leaders, the UN and its partners in Sabha are responding with pre-positioned non-food items to help address the urgent humanitarian needs.
Additional medical kits have already been deployed to assist with the wounded and more supplies will be dispatched over the coming days, it added.
Clashes between rival groups have been among the challenges facing Libya since the toppling of the regime of Muammar Al-Qadhafi last year and the establishment of the interim authorities. Last month, deadly clashes erupted between the Tabou and the Zwaya tribal brigades in the southern city of Kufra over a two-week period, with about 100 people reported to have died and many others seriously injured.
Briefing the Security Council in January, Mr. Martin had reported that security remains a major concern, adding that events in different parts of the country had highlighted the risks associated with both the continued abundance of weapons on the streets, and the diverse armed “brigades” operating in the country with unclear lines of command and control.
News Tracker: past stories on this issue