General Khalifa Haftar , commander of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), has launched a military operation in southwestern Libya with the aim of wiping out his opponents before the December 24 elections.
Musa Tehu Say, writer and journalist expert in African affairs, said this to “Agenzia Nova” .
The spokesman for Haftar’s general command, Ahmed al Mismari, announced on the evening of June 17 an “anti-terrorism operation” in the Fezzan region to “eliminate the presence of African mercenaries in southern Libya and maintain the security and stability of the Country”.
However, according to Musa Tehu Say, with this maneuver Haftar only intends to remove candidates in the December elections who are not loyal to him.
The writer, who is one of the most well-known journalists of the Libyan south, pointed out that all previous military operations of the LNA in the cities and regions of the south were intended to guarantee loyalty to the commander of Cyrenaica, excluding those who were not under the command. of Benghazi.
“There is a great contradiction in Haftar’s operation: how does he say that the operation intends to expel African mercenaries from the south, he himself brought them to the country and used them in all his wars?” asked Musa Tehu Say.
“The residents of the south – he added – cannot be convinced that Haftar is fighting terrorism, because they know well that his militias control drug and fuel trafficking. It was he who supported the Chadian opposition which then overthrew the regime of Idriss Deby and exacerbated the problem of terrorism and extremist groups not only in Libya but in Africa ”.
The reference is to the Front for Alternation and Concord of Chad (Fact), the armed group considered responsible for the death of President Deby.
After having long supported the Third Force of Misrata in Libya, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Fact forces were confined to some bases of General Haftar’s Libyan National Army , while elements of this group would have deserted from Battalions 116 and 128 of the ‘Lna during the Tripoli War.
The Chadian group was founded by Mahamat Mahadi Ali, an intellectual who lived in France for 25 years as a political refugee and who in recent years has been able to forge circumstantial alliances – the most recent of which with the Libyan general Haftar – to acquire armaments without exposing his fighters.
Precisely the proximity of Mahadi with Haftar would explain the fact that the Fact militias (which are estimated to have about 700 men and between 150 and 400 vehicles) are so well equipped and armed.
In an exclusive interview granted on June 17 to “Agenzia Nova” with Ahmid al Ataibi.
He is the commander of the military region of Sebha under the Ministry of Defense of the Libyan national unity government<
He revealed that the militiamen of the Seventh Brigade, better known as the Kanyat Brigade , commanded by the ” Kani brothers “, suspected of the mass graves found in Tarhuna, would have arrived in the city of Sebha, the capital of the southern Libyan region of Fezzan.
They arrived with a column of vehicles of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army of General Haftar: one of their tasks would be to clean up the officers close to the previous Government of National Accord (GNA).
“Long columns of vehicles continuously arrive from the eastern region almost every day,” says Al Ataibi, indicating how new units arrived from the Jufra region a week ago.
So far, the commander estimated, more than 400 armed vehicles have arrived in Sebha, including some vehicles from the Kanyat Brigade.
It is worth mentioning that Mohammed Khalifa al Kani, born in 1979, and his brother Abderrahim al Kani, born in 1997, are under sanctions by the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom for gross human rights abuses and violations.
perpetrated in the Libyan city of Tarhuna, about 60 kilometers southeast of Tripoli, controlled by them between 2015 and June 2020.
So far, the bodies of more than 140 people, including women and children, have been unearthed from the mass graves of this former stronghold city of Haftar in the 2019-2020 Tripoli conflict.
Despite international sanctions imposed on the militia, General Haftar allegedly allowed the Kanyat Brigade to remain in the eastern region, supplying it with weapons and vehicles.
Al Ataibi explains to “Nova” that the reinforcements who arrived a week ago are now stationed at the Tamanhint air base, a place where residential buildings have been cleared and residents expelled.
According to the military from the Tripoli Ministry of Defense, “the objective of these heavily armed convoys is the control, by Haftar, of the entire south and its oil and oil wells“.
Not only. Al Ataybi reveals that the forces sent from Cyrenaica “have a list of military officers from the past National Unity Government to liquidate“, trusting himself to fear his life. “It’s not just me. The name of General Ali Kanna, who is now abroad, is also at the top of this list ”.
The Libyan commander claims to be besieged by now, but promises resistance to the last man: “We will not stand by and watch. We have nothing to lose ”.
The military officer reported that he repeatedly tried to contact the Ministry of Defense and the Chief of Staff in Tripoli to warn them of this desperate situation, unsuccessfully : “There has been no response from this government. And yet, we wrote to them and warned them several times ”.
Al Ataybi adds to “Nova” that one of the ministers of the national unity government would have traveled to the city of Benghazi, the stronghold of Haftar, with a member of the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (the UN-sponsored body that appointed the current interim executive authorities) where he met Saddam Haftar, son of the LNA commander, asking him to send forces to Merzuq and Sebha “for unknown reasons“.
Finally, the commander of the Sebha military region denounces that the fuel sent by the Brega Oil Company to the Sebha oil depot does not supply the citizens at all , but is seized by Haftar’s men who do what they want with it.
It is worth remembering that in the area on 6 June, a suicide bombing claimed by the Islamic State hit a checkpoint near Sebha, causing a stir among the population and on social media.
The “Amaq” agency, the media arm of the Islamic State, has published some details of the attack against “the militants of the tyrant Haftar”.
“Brother Muhammad al Muhajir, God accept him, drove his car bomb to a militia checkpoint of the tyrant Haftar in the northern area of Maziq, in the city of Sebha and, after approaching, blew up self-trap, killing at least four of them, including an officer occupying the position of head of the criminal investigative branch and another officer in charge of administrative affairs, as well as injuring several other elements, destroying three vehicles and causing great destruction in the place of the attack “, reads the statement of the jihadist group,
Musa Tehu – writer and journalist on African affairs