• Days of intermittent battles have destroyed parts of towns and caused displacement of civilians
  • Warshafana singked out as particularly problematic trouble spot
  • UNSMIL calls on warring parties to safeguard national institutions

The UN has condemned escalating hostilities in western Libya after days of intermittent battles have destroyed parts of towns and caused the displacement of civilians.

It has singled out the area of Warshafana as a particularly problematic trouble spot.

“The mission urges all parties to take all necessary measures to ensure the right of return for all those displaced from the area, and that none are illegally detained and prosecuted outside the scope of the law,” the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said in a statement, calling for an end to the fighting.

“The mission also reiterates its warnings to the warring parties that the targeting of civilians could amount to crimes punishable under international humanitarian law”.

UNSMIL also called on the warring parties to safeguard national institutions by “refraining from taking any steps that could compromise the neutrality of these institutions that are crucial for Libya’s economic survival”.

Currently, Libya’s central bank and National Oil Corporation (NOC) are not affiliated with either the elected government based in the eastern town of Tobruk or the Tripoli-based government that is backed by the militia coalition Libya Dawn.

The central bank pays subsidies and the salaries of public workers, but does not allow either of the two governments to directly access money accumulated through selling oil.

Both groups have recently been accused of trying to gain direct access to the country’s oil revenues by various methods.

On 4 April, the Tobruk-based government directed NOC to send its income to an offshore account located in the UAE rather than sending it directly to the country’s central bank.

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