Militias in the Libyan capital Tripoli have stormed the headquarters of the UN-backed government of national accord on Friday, attempting to stage a coup and bring the former government back to power.
The militias took over Rixos hotel in central Tripoli, which houses the unity government’s presidency council. They have also taken over a local TV channel building.
Heavily armed pro-coup militia fighters remain around the Rios early Saturday.
The attempted coup was led by Khalifa Ghwell, former Tripoli’s prime minister of the national salvation government that was replaced by the UN-backed unity government in March.
In a televised statement on Friday, plotters of the attempted coup said they are bringing back the former government as a “historic initiative to rescue Libya.”
The government of national accord has issued a statement on Saturday, condemning the coup and ordering an arrest of the plotters.
“The presidency council of the government of national accord has issued urgent orders to the interior ministry to immediately communicate with the attorney general and arrest the politicians who planned and executed the storming (of the headquarters).”
The whereabouts of the Prime Minister Fayez Serraj is still unknown. Some reports claim he is in neighboring Tunisia.
The coup will deepen the current political crises in troubled Libya, as the country still suffers political division between two rival governments and parliaments.
Serraj’s internationally-supported government was appointed based on an UN-sponsored peace agreement signed by Libya’s political factions in order to put an end to the state of division in Libya.