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Violent clashes erupt in Libyan capital, Tripoli as Parliament-appointed PM Bashagha try to seize government

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The Libyan Parliament-appointed Prime Minister, Fathi Bashagha, was on Tuesday, forced to flee from the capital Tripoli when he tried to forcefully take over government as clashes erupted between his supporters and those of a rival administration that has refused to cede power, Libyan authorities said.

Bashagha had entered Tripoli on Monday night after two months of stalemate between Libya’s rival administrations, but was forced to withdraw hours later as fighting rocked the capital, his office said in a statement.

A news report by a local media said that the crisis risks plunging Libya back into prolonged fighting after two years of relative peace, or returning it to partition between the eastern-backed government of Bashagha and a Tripoli-based administration under Abdulhamid al-Dbeibah.

The political impasse that has bedevilled the North African country in the last two years has already led to a partial blockade of Libya’s oil facilities with the National Oil Company (NOC), last month, suspending operations at two of the country’s major oil sites, the Zouetina terminal and the al-Charara field, after shutting down several other facilities in connection with protests and political rivalries.

According to local media, sounds of heavy weapons and automatic gunfire were heard on across the capital on Tuesday morning, while schools were hurriedly cancelled and the normally heavy rush hour traffic was sparse.

Sporadic shooting continued even after Bashagha left, but security experts believe things may not return to normalcy.

“I don’t think things will just return to being cool and static and relaxed,” a Libya security expert, Jalel Harchaoui, said.

But Harchaoui believes wider escalation of violence is unlikely given Bashagha’s hurried withdrawal from Tripoli after fighting had broken out.

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Tunisia’s Interior Ministry alleges threats to President Saied’s life

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The Tunisian Interior Ministry has alleged serious threats to the life of President Kais Saied as concerns over a mounting political crisis in the North African country grows.

The Ministry said the country’s intelligence apparatchick revealed that both internal and external elements were involved in plans targeting the president.

Ministry spokesperson Fadhila Khelifi said in a news conference that “the goal was to undermine Tunisian public security by eliminating the President.”

Though Khelifi did not give out names of the purported planners, he however assured that they would soon be rounded up and made to face trial.

President Saied has been having a running battle with the opposition in Tunisia with opponents accusing him of a coup for seizing most powers last summer to rule by decree and preparing a new constitution that he plans to put to a referendum next month.

This year alone, Saied has moved to consolidate his powers by dissolving the parliament, annuling the electoral commission and taking also taking the war to the judiciary by sacking 57 judges after accusing them of protecting Islamists.

Critics have also accused him of clamping down on the opponents with the arrest of leading opposition figures and a widespread crackdown on the opposition parties.

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Senegal’s opposition leader calls for nationwide mega protest on June 29

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Despite clashes between government security forces and anti-government protesters which led to the death of three people last week, Senegal’s main opposition leader, Ousmane Sonko, has called for a fresh demonstration to be held on June 29.

Sonko who came third in the last presidential election in the country and has a large followership made up of mainly youths, had also called on citizens to bang pots and pans in protest on Wednesday which was a huge success, prompting in his call for the July 29 showdown.

“On the 29th of July, with or without authorization, we are going to organize our demonstration,” Sonko, a leader of the PASTEF party said in a press conference on Friday.

“If President Macky Sall wants to prevent this affair, he should be ready to arrest us or terminate us.

“Let the whole of Senegal rumble and let Macky Sall understand that the Senegalese people do not agree with his dictatorial designs or his ill-fated plan for a third term,” Sonko added.

Though the police has banned protests in the West African country citing risk of unrest, Sonko and other opposition figures have called on citizens to come out enmasse for the demonstration.

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