Deal struck to return displaced to pro-Gaddafi Libya town

Displaced Libyans to return to pro-Gaddafi town under new deal
2 min read
04 June, 2018
Tawergha's 35,000 displaced residents are hoping for a successful implementation of a landmark reconciliation deal with Misrata to allow them to return home after seven years of living in camps
Displaced residents of Tawergha have been living in refugee camps for seven years [Getty]
A new agreement has been struck to allow thousands of displaced Libyans to return home to a town that sided with former leader Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 revolution that saw him ousted, the country's unity government said on Monday.

Fayez al-Sarraj, head of the Government of National Accord (GNA), welcomed the reconciliation deal signed late on Sunday by representatives of the pro-Gaddafi town of Tawergha and nearby Misrata, 240 kilometres (145 miles) southeast of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

"The return of the inhabitants of Tawergha to their town will mark the start of the return of all Libya's displaced and exiles inside and outside the country," Sarraj said on the GNA's Facebook page.

The 35,000 residents of Tawergha, a town which stayed loyal to despotic Gaddafi right up to his fall, were evicted after his overthrow as collective punishment and have since been kept in camps on the outskirts of Tripoli or scattered across Libya.

Living in squalid conditions without basic necessities, they have been the frequent target of attacks by militiamen, especially from Misrata - a city that lost hundreds of lives in the revolt against Gaddafi.

A date has yet to be announced for the return of residents to Tawergha.

An earlier deal with a return date of February 1 saw hundreds of families in cars turned back at roadblocks manned by militiamen from Misrata who control the town.

Since then, the displaced have camped in the desert sleeping in tents donated by UN agencies or shelters provided by nearby towns.

Libya is split between rival governments in the East and West, each backed by an array of tribal militias and international powers.