By Prudence Arobani
War lords have reached a ceasefire agreement to end years of hostilities, protect civilians, safeguard public and private property in war-torn North African country, Libya.
The agreement was reached under the auspices of Ghassan Salame, the top United Nations official in Libya.
The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) announce in a tweet posted on its official Twitter account.
Tripoli’s Meitiga International Airport, which had been closed since violence flared up, would also be opened under the deal.
The accord was signed by representatives of the Government of National Accord (GNA), military commanders, security apparatuses and armed groups present in and around Tripoli.
Scores of civilians had been killed and hundreds injured across residential areas of the Libyan capital since fighting escalated last week.
Spokesperson for UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Charlie Yaxley, said that the use of heavy weapons and shelling in civilian neighbourhoods had “caused death, destruction and displacement, and is of great concern.”
“We are closely monitoring the situation and coordinating with the Libyan Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration and UN agencies, and advocating for all refugees and migrants to be relocated to a safer place,” Yaxley said.
According to the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), a humanitarian worker – trying to evacuate civilians trapped in a neighbourhood – was reportedly shot , while one of the armed groups involved was alleged to have confiscated three ambulances.
UN agencies, such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNHCR, have stepped up their response, with WHO delivering trauma medicines for 200 critical cases, keeping another 2,000 more units on standby and deploying 10 mobile emergency trauma teams to areas where fighting is ongoing.
Similarly, UNHCR is dispatching emergency items to families seeking shelter at a local school, the UN said.
In a statement prior to the announcement of the ceasefire, Syed Hussain, Head of WHO operations in Libya, said the agency was “working with national health authorities and partners on the ground to respond to increasing health needs”.
Hussain, however, said “roadblocks remain a major challenge to the delivery of health care, especially ambulances that are unable to reach the injured”.
“With greater numbers of injured civilians expected, it is imperative that doctors and other health staff be allowed to move freely so that they can save lives without delay, and without risk to their own personal safety,” he added.
There were also reports that a migrant detention facility was hit, causing great concern over the safety of migrants and refugees.
According to UN reports, there are about 8,000 arbitrarily detained migrants trapped in detention centres in areas where fighting had been taking place, without access to food or medical treatment.
The reports added that some migrants, released from detention, had subsequently been captured by armed groups and forced to work for them. (NAN)