The continuing deaths of civilians including children of families forced to flee their homes, looting and other crimes, jailbreaks, and abuse of migrants in detention centres has become a way of life in Libya that the UN says is no longer tenable.

Ghassan Salamé, Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) told the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Wednesday that violence in the capital, Tripoli, that began on 26 August succeeded in shattering the façade of calm that had prevailed since May 2017.

The violence which involved the deployment of tanks and heavy artillery left 61 Libyans dead and injured nearly 160.

“Many of those who died were civilians, including children. Families were forced to flee their homes. Looting and crime became common-place as gangs took to the streets,” said Salame.

Hundreds of criminals broke out of prison. Migrants were either trapped in detention centres or turned onto the street.

Against the backdrop that the city was “on the brink of all-out war,” he said that on 4 September, UNSMIL brokered a ceasefire between the major parties to the conflict, halting the fighting and restoring some order.

Salame noted that in recent weeks, the nation has lurched from one emergency to another.

Fearing that it may become a shelter for terrorist groups of all persuasions, he asked the UNSC for more help at this critical juncture.

- African News Agency (ANA)