Renewed militia clashes in Tripoli reflect Libyan political divisions
On 17 March, clashes occurred in the same area between the Janzour Knights and General Security Service forces. On 18 March, clashes took place in the early hours of the morning between the Janzour-based National Mobile Force (NMF) and the General Security Service in the Ghayiran Brigade area in west Tripoli. A convoy of twenty NMF vehicles entered the neighbouring al-Siyahiyya area without coordinating their movements with the Hay al-Andalus Joint Security Room, leading to an exchange of gunfire with the forces at the Ghayran Brigade checkpoint. The General Security Service released a statement denying that they were involved in the event.
Tensions are emerging within and between Tripoli-based militias as a result of growing support among some armed groups for the Libyan National Army (LNA). Zintan has a long-standing relationship with the LNA and hence Zintani forces are likely to be a source of friction for Tripoli groups concerned about militias sympathetic to the LNA forming a fifth column in the capital. Moreover, the shuffling and removal of Trabelsi’s forces indicate an increasing desire by forces aligned to the Government of National Accord (GNA) to remove any LNA-affiliated forces from strategic positions in the capital.