On 1 February, members of the mostly Misratan-staffed Central Region Zone, nominally under Government of National Accord (GNA) command, intercepted a convoy of Tawerghan Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) travelling from Ajdabiya near Bin Jawwad, east of Sirte, and prevented them from travelling any further west towards their hometown. On 2 February, a security post for Misrata’s Sirte Protection force was attacked, reportedly as a result of local backlash against Misratans for preventing the return of Tawerghans. On 4 February, Tawerghan IDP returnees south of Misrata, in Qararat al-Katf, were also reportedly attacked by Misratan fighters.

These incidents have received local and international condemnation, given in late December 2017 a highly celebrated ‘agreement’ was signed by GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj with representatives of Misrata and Tawergha, promising the peaceful, voluntary return of Tawerghan IDPs to their hometown from 1 February onwards and compensation payments to both sides. Representatives of the two communities had also signed a UN-sponsored reconciliation agreement in August 2016. Misratans accuse residents of Tawergha, a town located around 40km south of Misrata, of participating in the attack on their city during the 2011 uprisings, and after Qadhafi’s defeat Misratan militias forcefully evicted the entire 30,000 strong population of the town and have prevented them from returning ever since.