‘Libya cannot afford to remain divided,’ says UN envoy, deploring latest deadly terrorist attack

Special Representative and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) Martin Kobler. UN Photo/Manuel Elías

7 January 2016 – Condemning the “reprehensible” deadly terrorist attack on a security training centre today in Libya’s coastal city of Zliten, the top United Nations official in the country said the incident again shows the urgent need for all stakeholders to press ahead with forming a recently-agreed unity government.

In a statement, the Special Representative for Libya and head of the UN Support Mission there (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler, strongly condemned the deadly attack, which, according to media reports, left nearly 50 people dead and wounded many others this morning as police recruits gathered at the training centre in Zliten, a coastal town between the capital, Tripoli, and the port of Misrata.

“I am shocked at this reprehensible terrorist attack. I offer my sincere condolences to the families of the victims and wish those injured a speedy recovery,” said Mr. Kobler, who emphasized that the “heinous act” once again shows that urgent progress is required towards the formation of the Government of National Accord and the activation and rebuilding of Libyan security forces.

He went on to say that the United Nations in consultation with the local health authorities is ensuring that the needed medical supplies are available.

The Special Representative urged Libyans to put their differences aside and unite to confront the scourge of terrorism. “This attack comes at a time when fighting is still going on at oil facilities in Sidra. Libya cannot afford to remain divided in the face of such serious terrorist threat,” he underscored, referring to an attack just two days ago by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Sidra and Ras Lanouf oil terminals.

“Every wasted day in failure to implement the Libyan Political Agreement is a day of gain for Da’esh (an alternative name for ISIL),” Mr. Kobler said, adding that: “These oil resources are property of the Libyan people and future generations. Libyan parties must spare no effort to block any attempt by Daesh to finance its terrorist agenda through seizure of Libyan oil.”

Later in the day, in a statement issued by a UN spokesperson, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also condemned the deadly terrorist attack that took place today near a police base in Zliten. He expressed his condolences to the many families of those who lost their lives or were injured and to the people of Libya.

The Secretary-General in his statement also condemned the ongoing attacks by Da’esh-affiliates on oil facilities near Sidra, in central Libya. He deplored the attempts by extremists to strip these natural resources from the Libyan people.

“These criminal acts serve as a strong reminder of the urgency to implement the Libyan Political Agreement and form a Government of National Accord. Unity is the best way for Libyans to confront terrorism in all its forms,” said the statement, adding that Mr. Ban renewed his call on all political and security actors to create a conducive environment for the Government to assume its responsibilities.

In December Mr. Kobler facilitated the final stages of the Agreement to form a Government of National Accord with a Presidency Council, Cabinet, House of Representatives and State Council, in talks between the sides in Morocco in a bid to end four years of factional fighting that has killed many Libyans and left nearly 2.4 million in desperate need of humanitarian aid.


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