Libya’s militia conundrum: Violent unrest in Tripoli’s Ghargour

Anti-militia sentiment generated by a militia skirmish in Tripoli on 7 November led hundreds of people to gather in the Ghargour area of the capital on 15 November. What was meant to be a peaceful protest ended in violence and the death of 47 people when militia in the area opened fire on the protesters.

The militia are from Misratah, a highly independent city 192km east of Tripoli, which achieved global fame for its resistance against the Gaddafi regime during the 2011 Libyan civil war. Following the conflict, the Misratah militia and rebel groups from around the country, remained in Tripoli despite strong opposition from locals for them to relocate. These militias have presented the authorities with numerous challenges as they have been frequently implicated in clashes with rivals and disruptive protests.

The 15 November violence will add pressure on the government to deal with the issue. However, a simple removal of militias is not immediately anticipated. The Misratah militia, like the Zintan militia, which guards the Tripoli International Airport, are politically connected and take orders from their brigade commanders, not the central government. Moving them will take time and further conflict is anticipated.

For an interactive map of the 15/16 November clashes in Tripoli, click here.

By Andre Colling, Chief Analyst MENA region

Follow him on Twitter @andrecolling

Also check out his blog, The Roving Eye.

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