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Protesters and army generals sign power-sharing deal in Sudan

Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo said the agreement was a “historic moment” for Sudan.

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Protesters and army generals sign power-sharing deal in Sudan
Sudanese deputy chief of the ruling miliary council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (R) and protest movement Alliance for Freedom and Changes leader Ahmad al-Rabiah shake hands after inking an agreement before African Union and Ethiopian mediators in Khartoum early on July 17, 2019. (Photo by Ebrahim HAMID / AFP)

Sudan’s protesters and ruling generals Wednesday inked a power-sharing deal, paving the way for a civilian administration, a key demand of demonstrators since president Omar al-Bashir was deposed in April. The two sides initialled a document called the “Political Declaration”, after intense talks through the night over fine details of the agreement.

The deputy chief of the ruling military council Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo – who initialled the deal on behalf of the generals – said the agreement was a “historic moment” for Sudan. Ibrahim al-Amin, a key protest leader, said: “Today, we completed the political declaration.” “For the constitutional document we will resume talks on Friday,” he told journalists.

The landmark power-sharing deal, which was agreed on July 5, has been brokered by African Union and Ethiopian mediators after intense negotiations between the protest umbrella group and ruling generals. The overall accord stipulates that a new transitional civilian-military ruling body be established, in a bid to end the country’s months-long political crisis.

The governing body will have a total of six civilians and five military representatives. The six civilians will include five from the umbrella protest movement, the Alliance for Freedom and Change. A general will head the ruling body during the first 21 months of the transition, followed by a civilian for the remaining 18 months, according to the framework agreement.

That body is to oversee the formation of a transitional civilian administration that will govern for just over three years, after which elections would be held. The breakthrough accord came after a political deadlock that gripped Sudan since the generals ousted Bashir in a palace coup in April, on the back of months of nationwide mass protests against his iron-fisted three-decade rule.

Tensions climaxed on June 3 when armed men in military fatigues stormed a longstanding protest camp in Khartoum, shooting and beating crowds of demonstrators in a pre-dawn raid. Dozens were killed and hundreds wounded, triggering international outrage, although the generals insisted they did not order the violent dispersal of protesters.

Talks to fine-tune the details of the deal since July 5 had been postponed several times at the request of protest leaders.

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Libyan National Army attack Mitiga airport and Zuwara airfield

Libyan National Army said it targeted a hangar “which houses Turkish drones and their ammunition”.

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(FILES) This file photo taken on April 08, 2019, shows the Mitiga International Airport in Libya's capital Tripoli. - Rocket fire on August 11 hit the Libyan capital's sole functioning airport, violating a temporary truce between the unity government and forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, airport authorities said. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

Tripoli’s sole functioning airport Mitiga and Zuwara airfield were targeted for the second time in less than 48 hours – the former hit overnight Thursday and the latter on Friday morning.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) reported that three people were wounded in the raids by forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar against the two airports under its control.

Airport management at Mitiga reported rocket fire against the runway “as planes took off and landed”. 

The UN-recognised GNA said on Facebook that Haftar’s forces “targeted employees of the airport services company” at Mitiga with Grad missiles, causing shrapnel wounds to two workers and damaging a bus.

Flights were temporarily suspended or rerouted to Misrata, 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of Tripoli.

In the attack against Zuwara airfield, Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army said it targeted a hangar “which houses Turkish drones and their ammunition”.

The Tripoli-based GNA said a member of civil protection was wounded in that attack.

Pro-Haftar forces also “targeted other hangars… located 1.5 kilometres to the east of Abu Kamach”, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari said on Facebook.

The country’s biggest petrochemical complex is located there, near the Tunisian border.

Forces loyal to the GNA and the LNA are embroiled in a stalemate in Tripoli’s southern outskirts after Haftar launched an offensive against the capital in April.

Fighting over the last four months has killed 1,093 people and wounded 5,752, according to the World Health Organization. 

Some 120,000 have been displaced over the same period.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. 

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Libya’s Mitiga International airport reopens after rocket fire attack

Flights from Mitiga airport were suspended for several hours Sunday after rocket fire hit the airport

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Grounded air-planes sit on the tarmac at Mitiga International Airport as Flights have resumed

Flights have resumed from the Libyan capital’s sole functioning airport as calm returned Monday to the outskirts of Tripoli after a temporary truce was violated the previous day. “Reopening airspace at Mitiga International airport after maintenance and cleaning… so that airlines can renew their flights,” the facility’s management said late Sunday on Facebook.

The Government of National Accord and forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar had agreed on a truce for the three-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha that began on Sunday. Haftar launched an offensive to take Libya’s capital in early April, but encountered stiff resistance, resulting in months of stalemate in southern Tripoli’s outskirts. 

Flights from Mitiga airport were suspended for several hours Sunday after rocket fire hit the airport, a few metres from the runway where planes were parked. Located east of Tripoli, Mitiga is a former military airbase that has been used by civilian traffic since Tripoli international airport suffered severe damage during fighting in 2014.

Pay Attention: Rocket fire hits airport, breaking Eid truce in Libya

Mitiga is in a zone under the control of forces loyal to the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and has often been targeted. Haftar’s Libyan National Army and the GNA had Saturday agreed to a UN-sponsored humanitarian truce for Al-Adha, although the GNA listed conditions, including a cessation of troop movements.

The GNA blamed Haftar’s forces for the attack on the airport, in which no casualties or serious damage were reported, and for a separate alleged attack in the Soug al-Jomaa district of Tripoli. Over the past four months, 1,093 people have been killed in the fighting and 5,752 wounded, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while more than 120,000 people have been displaced.

Pay Attention: Libya’s Mitiga airport reopens after missile attack

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

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Rocket fire hits airport, breaking Eid truce in Libya

The GNA blamed Haftar’s forces for the attack against the airport, and for a separate alleged attack in the Soug al-Jomaa district of Tripoli.

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Mitiga International Airport in Libya's capital Tripoli. - Rocket fire on August 11 hit the Libyan capital's sole functioning airport,

Rocket fire hit the Libyan capital’s only functioning airport Sunday, violating a temporary truce between the unity government and forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, airport authorities said.

Air traffic was suspended “until further notice”, the statement added, alongside photos showing columns of smoke rising from the runway and parked planes. Haftar launched an offensive to take Libya’s capital in early April, but encountered stiff resistance, resulting in months of stalemate in southern Tripoli’s outskirts. 

His Libyan National Army (LNA) and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord had on Saturday agreed to a humanitarian truce for Eid Al-Adha, although the GNA had listed conditions, including a cessation of troop movements. 

Pay Attention: Rival forces agree to Eid Al-Adha truce in Libya

The GNA blamed Haftar’s forces for the attack against the airport, and for a separate alleged attack in the Soug al-Jomaa district of Tripoli. “Haftar’s militias have violated the truce twice,” GNA spokesman Mustafa al-Mejii said.

“The first time targeted a home in Soug al-Jomaa, wounding three civilians, and the second hit Mitiga airport,” he added. Located east of Tripoli, Mitiga is a former military airbase that has been used by civilian traffic since Tripoli’s international airport suffered severe damage during fighting in 2014.

Mitiga is in a zone under the control of forces loyal to the GNA and has often been targeted. “We have noted the coordinates of the rocket fire from zones controlled by Haftar’s militias south of the capital” and passed them on to the UN mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Mejii said.

Libyan TV channels also reported exchanges of fire around the road to the closed international airport on Sunday. The truce had come after UN envoy Ghassan Salame had already called several times for humanitarian ceasefires, without success.

Pay Attention: Airstrike on migrant centre kills almost 40 in Libya

Over the past four months, 1,093 people have been killed in the fighting and 5,752 wounded, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), while more than 120,000 people have been displaced. Libya has been in conflict since an uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

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