The United Nations has condemned last night’s coup in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.
In a strongly worded statement, issued within the last hour the UN’s Special Representative and head of the United Nations Support Mission (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler said, “Such actions, aimed at creating parallel institutions and obstructing the implementation of the LPA, (Libyan Political Agreement) will generate further disorder and insecurity and must end for the sake of the Libyan People.”
The coup occurred late last night, when members of the former militia backed government in Tripoli took over their previous headquarters and declared the UN backed government, imposed by the international community in March, “void”. At the time of the coup, the leadership of the UN supported body were in Tunis where they remain, with details of their intended return unknown.
The leader of the coup, former Tripoli Prime Minister, Khalifa Ghwell said in a televised statement that the coup was a “historic initiative to rescue Libya.” Saying that the UN backed government had been given chance after chance to establish a working government, (beyond their own Cabinet) but had failed to do so.
Ghwail called for the formation of a new government to be assembled from the rump of the previous Tripoli government that he had led and the capital’s rival power in Tobruk, whose military forces seized control of much of the country’s oil production facilities last week.
According to the Guardian, the coup unfolded after militia groups loyal to the coup leaders confront those allied to the UN backed government, who pulled back during the course of yesterday afternoon without violence. The city is presently understood to be quiet with no reports of fighting.
The success or failure of the coup will now largely depend upon the plotter’s ability to gain the support of the country’s militias, specifically the Misratan militia who again suffered heavy losses today as they continued their tortuous advance upon the Islamic State, (Daesh) stronghold of Sirte, ostensibly on behalf of the UN backed government in Tripoli.
Prior to joining Tunisia Live, Simon worked as a freelance journalist. He has lived in Tunisia since 2013 and previously worked in Vietnam and Moscow.