Libyan militia vows "long-term war" against unity government

An armed militia in Libya threatened Friday to wage a "long-term war" against a UN-backed unity government that said it would move to the capital Tripoli, where a rival administration is in control.

The threat came hours after head of the unity government, Fayez Serraj, said that his cabinet would move to Tripoli "within days" after it had reached an agreement with security forces and some armed groups there.

The unity government is to replace two competing administrations, one based in Tripoli and the other in the eastern city of Tobruk.

The Tripoli-based militia Libya Revolutionaries Operations Room said in a statement it would "crush" whoever attempts to protect the Serraj government, the independent Libyan website al-Wasat reported.

The group called backers of the government a "bunch of agents."

In December 2015, Libyan lawmakers signed a UN-brokered peace agreement, including a unity government, aimed at ending years of instability in the oil-rich country.

Implementation of the deal faltered after it was rejected by several politicians and armed militias in Libya, where the Islamic State terrorist group has established a foothold.

The Serraj government, formed last month, is still based in neighbouring Tunisia.

The stalemate has raised global concerns that Islamic State will take advantage of the situation to expand its influence in Libya.

UN envoy for Libya Martin Kobler has called on the unity government to start governing soon in Tripoli.

"There has to be a transfer of power from the old to the new government, and it must happen quickly - within days," Kobler told dpa late Thursday in Cairo.

Libya has been in turmoil since the 2011 armed uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Gaddafi.

Last update: Fri, 18/03/2016 - 15:08


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