It wasn’t exactly a secret, but Libyan officials confirmed today that the capital city of Tripoli has effectively fallen to the Misrata militia, an Islamist faction from a nearby port city.
“We announce that most ministries, institutions and state bodies in the capital Tripoli are out of our control,” officials conceded in a statement issued overnight. The Misrata militia and its allies aren’t letting officials enter those buildings.
The parliament also announced that it has reappointed Abdullah al-Thinni as their prime minister. Thinni, a former defense ministry who was first appointed in March, has insisted he doesn’t want the job, but has also refused to hand over the position to anyone else parliament chooses.
Thinni is charged with forming a “crisis government” within the next few weeks, though exactly how much power such a government will have remains to be seen, as Libya’s military has mostly backed coup general Khalifa Hifter, and control of the ground is mostly between his fighters and various other militias.
Fighting in Benghazi also continues between Hifter’s forces, which control the airport, and Ansar al-Sharia’s Shura Council, one of two militia factions which both claim to represent the people of Benghazi.
The Misrata militia was one of the leading factions in Western Libya during the revolution to oust Moammar Gadhafi, and was responsible for some of the bloodiest attacks on African immigrants, which they accused of being pro-Gadhafi mercenaries. The faction has retained huge power since the end of that war, and now seems to be trying to consolidate power for itself.