Jawhar Farhat

Armed groups in Benghazi lie within the shadows of the cities urban landscape. Notably, the significant presence of these armed groups in Benghazi weaves a narrative of power, politics, and conflict in post-revolutionary Libya.

Among these groups, the presence of various militias and factions further complicates the scene. Allegiances shift, and the line between friend and foe blurs. Additionally, allegations of human rights abuses and forced evictions cast a chilling shadow over their influence.

Sharp contrasts are visible with the aspirations for stability epitomized by institutions like the Al Karama Training Center. Consequently, as Libya grapples with its fractured identity, the armed groups of Benghazi, including the myriad of fighters and factions within the city, offer a glimpse into a nation’s struggle for sovereignty amidst the chaos of conflict.

At the forefront stands the enigmatic Tariq Bin Ziyad Brigade. The Benghazi Armed Forces incorporate the unit. And, notably, its actions reverberate with tales of both valor and villainy.

1. Tariq bin Ziyad Brigade

The Tariq Bin Ziyad Brigade is one of the largest and most influential armed groups operating under the Libyan Arab Armed Forces. Notably, it is a notable entity amidst the myriad of armed factions in Benghazi. Moreover, this brigade is made up of a mix of professional soldiers who fought alongside Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. And, fighters from tribes allied with the Libyan Arab Armed Forces. This mix highlights the complex blend of loyalty and ambition within Benghazi’s martial landscape.

“Unlawful killings, torture, and other ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, rape, and other sexual violence, and forced displacement — with no fear of consequences” are some of the alleged terrifying acts carried out by the Tariq Ben Zeyad Brigade. Notably, their brutality is underscored, showing the reality faced by those caught in the crosshairs of armed groups in Benghazi.

Since late 2021, the TBZ is implicated in the forced eviction of thousands of residents from Sabha and its environs. Notably, this displacement is a testament to the extensive reach and influence of these groups beyond the immediate battlegrounds.

Between 2014 and 2019, the Libyan Arab Armed Forces conducted military campaigns to seize control of the eastern Libyan cities of Derna and Benghazi. In essence, the operations underscore the pivotal role of armed groups in Benghazi, like the Tariq Bin Ziyad Brigade, in shaping the outcomes of conflict and governance in Libya. Furthermore, these campaigns not only resulted in the forced relocation of Libyan families but also highlighted the enduring power struggles and the fraught path toward sovereignty and stability in a nation marred by conflict and division.

  • Commander: Saddam Haftar (son of Khalifa Haftar)
  • Ministry Affiliation: Libyan Arab Armed Forces
  • Headquarters: Benghazi, Libya

1.1 Activities of the Armed Groups of Benghazi

  • On 12 September 2022, the Libya Crimes Watch reports the Tariq Ben Zeyad Brigade set fire to the house of activist Senussi Al-Mahdi. The arson was a response for criticizing the violations taking place in the Buhadi area south of Sirte. 
  • On 19 December 2022, Amnesty International accused the Tariq bin Ziyad Brigade l of committing war crimes.
  • On 22 August, the official spokesman for the Commander-in-Chief of the Libyan Arab Armed Forces, Major General Ahmed Al-Mismari, confirmed that Major General Tariq bin Ziyad Al-Muazzaz is deployed inside the city of Sabha with the 11th Infantry Battalion. Moreover, Al-Mismari added that the deployment of the 11th Infantry Battalion came based on instructions from the Southern Operations Force Command. Additionally, the spokesman explained that the battalion’s deployment included its main entrances and the roads leading to it. The aim, was to of secure the city and its surroundings, according to the plan to secure the southwestern region.
  • On 20 August, the forces of Tariq bin Ziyad chased the remnants of Chadian rebels inside the southern Libyan border. Some Chadian factions opposed to the military authority in N’Djamena are taking refuge in southern Libya. The common Libyan border with Chad is described as a starting point for rebels who launch operations inside Chad.

1.2 152nd Battalion 

The 152nd Brigade, under the command of Major General Tariq Bin Ziyad Al-Mouzaz, stands as a formidable force in ensuring the security and stability of southeastern Libya. Notably, tasked with combating the scourge of smuggling, this battalion, led by Colonel Abdul Hakim Amazeb Al-Saadi, operates diligently under the directives and decisions of the Armed Forces’ Commander-in-Chief and the Ground Forces’ Operations Commander.

Moreover, The 152nd Brigade patrols the extensive Libyan-Egyptian border from Al Salam (Gate 60) to Jaghbub. Remarkably, the border totals a distance of 600 kilometers. Additionally, Colonel Al-Saadi prioritizes stopping criminal gangs in the Libyan desert to maintain security for Libya and its people.

Endowed with the authority to enforce regulations and laws within the Libyan Arab Armed Forces, the 152nd Brigade is equipped and prepared to combat smuggling activities. This ensures accountability for those involved in such illicit practices. Faced with persistent threats, this brigade remains resolute in its mission to safeguard the nation’s borders and uphold its integrity.

  • Commander: Colonel / Abdul Hakim Amazeb Al-Saadi
  • Ministry Affiliation: Libyan Arab Armed Forces- Tariq bin Ziyad Brigade
  • Headquarters: Ajdabiya

2. 106th Brigade

The 106th Brigade, also known as Awlia Aldem in Arabic, serves as a key military faction within the Libyan National Army. Remarkably, its command is held by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar. Initially formed as the 106th Battalion in 2016 from militias acting as Haftar’s personal security detail, it evolved into a full-fledged brigade by 2018 through amalgamation with various other units.

Furthermore, engaging in its first combat experience during the 2018 Battle of Derna, the brigade subsequently played roles in significant events such as the capture of Sabha in January 2019. Additionally, it was involved in the ill-fated Tripoli offensive in April of the same year. Notably, during this offensive, the unit encountered setbacks leading to numerous soldiers being captured by Government of National Accord forces. Additionally, the brigade garnered attention for its alleged involvement in the abduction of Libyan House of Representatives member Seham Sergiwa in Benghazi in July 2019. Recently, in May 2022, the 106th Brigade deployed to the Chad–Libya border region.

  • Commander: Khaled Haftar (son of Khalifa Haftar)
  • Ministry Affiliation: Libyan Arab Armed Forces
  • Headquarters: Rajmah, Libya

2.1 History and Disposition

The Libyan Arab Armed Force’s largest organization in terms of personnel, gear, and area of influence is Brigade 106. Initially, it began in 2014, when Haftar’s personal safety was its responsibility. Subsequently, it formally established itself as a battalion in 2016 and grew to become a brigade comprising at least ten battalions from Adjabiya and Benghazi in 2018.

Notably, Brigade 106 is a highly skilled military unit that occasionally relies on support from eastern tribes and Salafi organizations. Furthermore, since 2016, it has consistently received graduates from the military college. And, it has been well-supplied with weapons and equipment, fitting the impression of a contemporary force Haftar wishes to convey.

2.2 Al Karama Training Center

The Al Karama Training Center, within the 106th Brigade of some armed groups in Benghazi, serves as a pivotal institution dedicated to the preparation and enhancement of military personnel. The center trains soldiers in combat readiness, fitness, and self-defense, creating highly skilled soldiers. Brigade leadership aims to enhance officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers, building a robust and resilient armed force.

The center’s new sports facility shows its commitment to holistic fitness. Further, the Al Karama Training Center enhances the Libyan military’s readiness. Ultimately, it ensures its preparedness to safeguard national security and uphold peace and stability within the region.

  • Commander: Khairy Al-Tamimi
  • Ministry Affiliation: Libyan Arab Armed Forces


Jawhar Farhat is an ALL source analyst with a Level 6 diploma (CSMP) in Security Management and a master’s degree in Military Sciences from the Military Academy of Tunisia.


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