News / Africa

Libya Officials Reportedly Negotiating With Militia Over Airport Seizure

Newspaper publisher says Libya officials are negotiating with a militia group, which seized Tripoli airport

Members of the Libyan National Army rally to call for the National Transitional Council to stop marginalizing the role of the national army in Benghazi, Libya, March 4, 2012. Members of the Libyan National Army rally to call for the National Transitional Council to stop marginalizing the role of the national army in Benghazi, Libya, March 4, 2012.
x
Members of the Libyan National Army rally to call for the National Transitional Council to stop marginalizing the role of the national army in Benghazi, Libya, March 4, 2012.
Members of the Libyan National Army rally to call for the National Transitional Council to stop marginalizing the role of the national army in Benghazi, Libya, March 4, 2012.
Peter Clottey
The publisher of the Libya Herald, an independent newspaper, says government officials are holding talks with a militia group that seized the country’s international airport in the capital, Tripoli, Monday.

Clottey interview with Sami Zaptia, economist and publisher of the libya herald, an independent ne
Clottey interview with Sami Zaptia, economist and publisher of the libya herald, an independent nei
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X


Sami Zaptia, who is also an economist, said the airport seizure forced officials to divert arriving flights to Mitiga Airport, a military airport in the eastern part of Tripoli.

The militia group has said it seized the airport after its leader allegedly went missing.

“Intensive negotiations have been going on all day, and a committee of elders has been called, tribal leaders have been called together, and they are in deep discussion trying to come to a peaceful resolution,” said Zaptia.

He said it is unclear if the government will be able to resolve the militia group’s concerns to ensure the airport resumes normal operations.

“Everybody hopes Tripoli international airport will be opened sooner rather than later,” he said. “International flights have resumed now in the last few months [and] it will be a shame if [the airport] is kept closed for any period of time.”

Zaptia said the transitional government wants to avoid any more bloodshed following the uprising that toppled, and led to the subsequent death, of long-time leader, Moammar Gadhafi.

“The government is keen not to have Libyan freedom fighters fighting one another and not to be spilling each other’s blood.”

Some analysts have condemned the airport seizure. They called on the interim government to forcefully end the standoff, adding that would serve as a deterrent to other groups who could similarly hold the entire nation to ransom.

Zaptia said the administration has often encouraged Libyans to fully embrace the country’s new democratic process, instead of what he said was the old order of doing things under Gadhafi’s regime.

“The government has pointed … that we are now in a new democracy, you have the right to dissent,” said Zaptia, “but there are rules to the game.

He added, “democracy is not chaos, it’s not free for all, holding the prime minister’s office to ransom and now the airport. This is not the way,”

“We have to learn the new culture of democracy… not armed protests. That is really not a civilized way. We want to move away from the Gadhafi regime, from military rule, from the use of force and coercion.”

The country is scheduled to hold its first democratic elections later this month. Libyans would be required to vote for a National Consultative Assembly, tasked with drawing up a new constitution.

Observers have expressed concerns that prospective voters are unlikely to fully participate in the upcoming vote due to what they said is poor voter education.

Zaptia conceded that the administration has not been overly successful in educating Libyans about their rights and responsibilities in the new democratic dispensation.

“It’s very difficult now for a people overnight to learn the habit, to learn the culture, of democracy,” said Zaptia.

“The authorities have been trying, but I would say there hasn’t been enough time. But the authorities are trying to deal with militias, get the state back on its feet and try to educate the people in a democracy. The demands on the authorities have been too much, and they have struggled really.”

He warned that supporters of the old regime could create instability to undermine the upcoming vote.

You May Like

Ebola Brings Sickness, Fear, Anger

Cornell University Professor Stacey Langwick considers cultural, social aspects of outbreak More

British Fighters On Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign Jihadists More

Violent Quarantine Clashes Hamper Liberia's Struggle to Contain Ebola

Anger, misinformation and mistrust of government hampering efforts to contain the deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid