Saturday, 22/2/2020 | 5:37 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire

Libya On Verge Of Civil War – UN Envoy

UNITED NATIONS� Top UN envoy for Libya, warned on Tuesday that, the Arab country is on the verge of civil war that could lead to permanent division.

The damage already done will take years to mend, and that's only if the war is ended now, Ghassan Salame, the UN secretary-general's special representative for Libya, told the Security Council in a briefing.

This is the report whose delivery I have spent the nearly last two years trying to avoid. Forty-eight days into the attack on Tripoli by Gen. Haftar's forces, there has already been too much death and destruction, he said, referring to the new offensive on the Libyan capital, launched on April 4, by the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army, led by Gen. Khalifa Haftar.

The consequences and the risks of the conflict are already painfully clear, especially for the Libyan people: over 460 dead, 29 of them civilians; over 2,400 injured, the majority of them civilians; over 75,000 people forced from their homes, all of them civilians. Over half of the displaced are women and children, said Salame.

Humanitarian actors estimate that over 100,000 people remain trapped in immediate front-line areas, with over 400,000 more in areas directly impacted by the clashes.

The UN humanitarian agencies have been working around the clock to transfer the most vulnerable from the conflict-affected areas to safer locations, he said.

He noted that, the offensive on Tripoli came on the eve of the holding of a national conference in the Libyan city of Ghadames, a key event in Libya's political process.

The attack on Tripoli also imperilled the potential of the talks held on Feb 27, in Abu Dhabi, between Prime Minister, Fayez al-Sarraj and Gen. Haftar, the sixth of its kind between them.

The security vacuum created by the withdrawal of many of Gen. Haftar's troops from the south, coupled with focus of the western forces on the defence of the capital, is already being exploited by the Daesh and al-Qaeda terrorist groups, he said.

Since April 4, there have been four separate Daesh attacks in the south of Libya, leaving 17 people killed, more than 10 others wounded and eight kidnapped, said the UN envoy.

In addition to the innocent Libyans being ruthlessly subjected to the increasing terror of the Daesh, there will be a spillover of this violence to Libya's immediate neighbours, he warned.