Militia take control of Tripoli airport
Ranj Alaaldin is a doctoral researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he focuses on Shia political mobilisation and sectarian conflict in the Middle East. He previously worked on the law of armed conflict and the use of force. From January 2014, he will be conducting research at Columbia University as a Visiting Researcher
Monday 04 June 2012
A group of disgruntled militiamen took over Libya's main airport
today, storming it with heavy machine guns and armoured vehicles and
forcing airport authorities to divert flights, a security official said.
Mohammed el-Gharyani of Tripoli
Security Committee said militiamen from the city of Tarhouna occupied the airport runway. Flights were diverted to Metiga air base in the city's centre.
He said the militiamen were angry over arrest of their commander, Abu Elija, yesterday.
Tarhouna in central Libya was widely seen as a favourite of deposed ruler Muammar Gaddafi. Its dominant tribe, also called Tarhouna, held many positions in the Libyan military under Gaddafi. The city's residents are viewed with suspicion by former rebels.
Tribal rivalries have swept Libya since Gaddafi was overthrown last year. Much of the fighting has pitted militias that fought Gaddafi against those who remained loyal to his regime.
The Tarhouna group has been engaged in sporadic clashes with other militias from cities like Misrata and Tripoli. Abu Elija was arrested in Tripoli, according to el-Gharyani, but circumstances of his arrest were not immediately clear.
The attack on the airport came just two weeks before the date of the country's first general elections since 1969, when Gaddafi took over power in a military coup. On June 19, Libyans are scheduled to elect 200-member assembly to oversee writing a new constitution and form a government.
Election commission and government officials have recently given contradictory statements about the possibility that elections might be delayed, given the fragile security situation in Tripoli and many other cities.
Also, there have been calls to boycott the election in the eastern part of the country, where the uprising against Gaddafi started. Many easterners are demanding more representation in the assembly.
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...