United Nations- The UN envoy for Libya warned Tuesday that the oil-rich nation “is on the verge of descending into a civil war” that could divide the country and imperil the security of its neighbours and the wider Mediterranean region.

Gassan Salame told the Security Council that extremists from Daesh and Al Qaida are already exploiting the security vacuum sparked by the offensive to take the capital Tripoli launched April 4 by the Libyan National Army led by Field Marshal Khalifa Hafter.

He said the black flags of Daesh are appearing in southern Libya and there have been four attacks by its fighters in the south since April 4 that together have killed 17 people, wounded more than 10 and led to eight kidnappings.

“Libyan forces that had in the past courageously defended their country against these terrorist groups are now busy fighting each other,” Salame said.

Besides innocent Libyans being increasingly subjected to the increasing wrath of Daesh extremists, he said, “there will be spillover of this violence to Libya’s immediate neighbours.”

Civil war in Libya in 2011 toppled and later killed longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi, and the chaos that followed resulted in a divided country, with a UN-aligned, but weak, administration in Tripoli overseeing the country’s west and a government in the east aligned with Hafter. Each is backed by an array of militias and armed groups fighting over resources and territory.