Recent reports indicate that a climate of instability and high tensions prevails in Southern Libya, due to the presence of numerous armed groups and the absence of state control in the area.
The Mayor of Al-Sharqiyah municipality in southern Libya, Immhimmed Al-Arabi revealed that the battalions in the south gave the Chadian opposition groups stationed at the HQ of the Chinese company in the area until Wednesday to evacuate the site, stressing the continuation of the meetings of the committees formed within the city in this regard.
“Several battalions from the south region have joined Khalid Ibin Al-Walid Battalion to confront the common enemy represented in the external invasion of the country,” Al-Arabi explained in a press statement Tuesday.
Al-Arabi denied receiving any support from the Eastern or Western region, pointing out that they have asked the Chadian gangs besieged in the Chinese company to surrender and leave the country.
The Mayor of Al-Sharqiyah Imhimmed Arab, confirmed the killing of one person and the wounding of others as a result of clashes between Khalid Ibn Al-Walid Battalion and what he called the remnants of Chadian gangs in Umm al Aranib area in Murzuq.
Arab pointed out that clashes are still ongoing at the HQ of the Chinese company in the region, adding that the wounded were transferred to the hospital for treatment, describing their injuries as minor.
Armed formations in the southern region announced a military operation to hunt the remnants of the Chadian opposition groups, who are positioned in the region.
To address the situation, the head of the Libyan National Army (LNA) General Haftar announced on 19 October the launch of the Operation “Hawd Murzuq”, a joint task force operation to remove Sudanese, Chadian and local insurgent groups responsible for kidnapping and robbing in the Central, Sabha, Brak, Ubari-Ghat, and Murzuk-Kufra regions. The task force consists of the LNA’s 10 Infantry Brigade, the 181, 177 and 116 Infantry Battalions, and the Subul al-Salam Battalion.
On 19 October, UNSMIL released a statement deploring the dire security situation in southern Libya and called upon Libyan authorities to take action against the lawlessness that has plagued the region. In its statement, UNSMIL condemned foreign armed groups’ violations and encouraged regional actors to support Libyan authorities in addressing the issue.
UNSMIL has deplored the deterioration of the security situation in Libya’s south.
UNSMIL called on Friday on the Libyan authorities to take prompt and effective action against the lawlessness engulfing the southern region.
“The Mission condemns the violations perpetrated by foreign armed groups on Libyan territory,” UNSMIL said in a statement.
“The UN is deeply concerned about the increase in criminality, particularly the recent spate of kidnappings and the incidents of vandalism inflicted on the infrastructure of the Man-Made River.” UNSMIL remarked.
The UN mission also said that mounting lawlessness has exacerbated the already deficient provision of services in the south, resulting in the severe deprivation of its residents.
“The UN mission stands ready to support efforts to address the security situation and offers the use of its good offices for this purpose.” It added.
Southern Libya has been suffering from lack of services and mounting ratios of crime and abduction, not to mention the lack of government’s presence which led to the upper hand being taken by armed groups, including foreigners such as Chadian and Sudanese rebels.
Previously, the mayor of Al-Sharqiya district in southern Libya Emhemed Arab told reporters that southern brigades found six bodies for fighters from Khalid Bin Al-Walid brigade after reported kidnapped by Chadian rebels, adding that the death toll then increased to 10.
The mayor said that they had also found four kidnapped locals and they were still searching for the fifth, calling on the concerned authorities to secure the county from the flow of foreign gangs.
The escalating crisis in southern Libya is likely to renew a political race between the LNA and the GNA to gain local alliances, especially with the Arab tribes, in their fight against what many call the ‘Chadian Invasion’ of southern Libya.
However, this is likely to echo the competing efforts in March of this year when they both made token gestures to resolve the conflict — the GNA released a series of statements and formed committees without physical contributions, while the LNA provided armed forces for an interim offensive without undertaking reconciliation or governance activities.