UN calls for ceasefire in Libya after deadly clashes

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A damaged vehicle in Tripoli on Saturday

The UN has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Libya after a day of deadly clashes between political factions in the capital Tripoli.

At least 23 people were killed and dozens more injured during the fighting, the health ministry in Tripoli said.

Among the dead was young comedian Mustafa Baraka, local media reported.

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Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that ousted long-serving ruler Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Despite this, the country has experienced a relatively quiet period over the past two years.

On Saturday, forces of the internationally recognized government tried to push back a convoy of militias loyal to Fathi Bashagha, the man a rival eastern parliament recognizes as prime minister.

There were reports of firearms and explosions in various parts of the capital. Black smoke was visible all over the city.

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A number of hospitals have been affected, according to emergency services. People were also evacuated from areas around the fighting.

The UN mission in Libya said the fighting had involved “indiscriminate medium and heavy shelling in civilian neighborhoods” and called for an immediate ceasefire.

The oil-rich country once had one of the highest living standards in Africa, with free health care and free education.

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But the stability that led to its prosperity has been shattered and Tripoli has seen frequent fighting between rival forces since 2011.

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