Deadly clash of militias in Libyan capital Tripoli

Militiamen are seen on Zawiya Street in Tripoli after the gunfight erupted

Four people have been killed and at least five injured in a firefight which erupted earlier in the centre of the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

The clash centred on an old intelligence building bombed by Nato in last year's uprising against ex-leader Muammar Gaddafi.

A brigade from the city of Misrata tried to free prisoners held inside, leading to a confrontation with another armed group from Tripoli.

The casualties were from both brigades.

The gunfight broke out near the building between Zawiya and Saidi streets.

The roads quickly reopened once the situation had calmed.

"I regret the incident. I don't want to go into details, but it was the result of a problem between Misrata thwars [revolutionaries] and members of the military council of Zawiya street," Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the head of the Tripoli military council, told a news conference.

"What happened is an irresponsible act and the situation is now under control. Since the afternoon, we have not heard any gunshots," he added.

It is yet another sign of the continuing security threat posed by the disparate militias comprising former rebels, says the BBC's Mark Lowen in Tripoli.

They still wield significant power in the absence of a national army or police.

But Libya's new government, under popular pressure, has now begun the process of disbanding the groups and integrating them within the defence and interior ministries, our correspondent says.

Tens of thousands of fighters still make up the various brigades, and sporadic clashes have broken out between them in recent weeks.

The transition from civil war to a secure, stable Libya remains slow and difficult and dealing with the militia problem is one of the key challenges ahead, our correspondent adds.

More on This Story

More Africa stories



  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum, Dad and Mum

    The girl with three biological parents

  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?

  • Islamic State fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria (30 June 2014)Who backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force

  • Bride and groom-to-be photographed underwaterWetted bliss

    Chinese couples told to smile, but please hold your breath

  • A ship is dismantled for scrap in the port city of Chittagong, BangladeshDangerous work

    Bangladesh's ship breakers face economic challenge

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.