Libya, one of Africa’s largest oil producers, has been in a civil war since the Arab Spring of 2011 that ousted former ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
Here are some key facts about the war that broke out in February, 2011 after a wave of Arab revolution that had swept neighboring Egypt and Tunisia.
Sources; BBC, The Economist, Telegraph
In February 2011, representatives of the Libyan government to the Arab League in Egypt resigned and declared their support for those fighting to oust Colonel Gaddafi. Their resignation was in protest of the use of force by pro-Gaddafi government forces against the slain leader’s opponents.
In February 2011, the British government froze assets belonging to the former leader and his family members. Their diplomatic immunity was also cancelled. This was a resolution of the United Nation’s Security Council that was table by France and Britain. It was done response to the brutal violence that Gaddafi used on his opponents in the revolution wave.
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, who had led Libya since 1969, was killed on October 20, 2011 in his hometown, Sirte. He is the only leader to be killed during the revolution that hit several parts of the Arab world.
On September 11, 2012, the US ambassador to the North African nation, John Christopher Stevens was killed. This was in an attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi which was carried out by Islamic militants.
During the revolution, there were only two sides; pro-Gaddafi government forces who fought the rebels spearheading the revolution. But since 2014, there have been three factions in the civil war; Tripoli, Tobruk and the Isis, the terrorist outfit. The internationally recognized government has its base in Tobruk, a port city, while a unitary government backed by United Nations is based in the capital, Tripoli. The two are fighting to have control of the nation.
Several members of the Libyan national team left their football clubs to join the rebels in the anti-Gaddafi revolution. They were led by Juma Gtat, a former national team goalkeeper. This was in contrast to the passion that Colonel Gaddafi had for his nation’s footballers and always hailed them for every victory.
On June 25, 2012, the country held parliamentary elections in a bid to get a stable unitary government. A combination of parties made of liberals defeated Islamists, who won 19 seats out of the 80 assigned to parties. The Islamists rejected the results and declared them unfair and unconstitutional. They fought the nationalists in battles that escalated the civil war.
On July 28, 2015, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, Muammar Gaddafi’s son was sentenced to death for war crimes committed in the 2011 revolution. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for the same crimes.
Egypt, a country that was also affected by the Arab Spring of 2011, conducted air-attacks on the Islamic State’s (ISIS) strongholds in February last year. This was after ISIS beheaded 21 Christian workers of Egyptian origin. The attacks killed at least 64 ISIS fighters in the first ever attack by Egypt on its neighbor.