TRIPOLI: Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army has launched a military operation to secure the southern border, it said on Friday, after fighting near the area resumed between the government of Chad and a rebel group trying to unseat it.
Chad’s President Mahamat Idriss Deby said on Sunday that the army was again fighting the Libya-based Chadian Front for Change and Concord or FACT group, which quit a ceasefire last week amid clashes.
FACT had fought alongside the LNA as one of many mercenary groups involved in Libya’s civil war, researchers on Libya say, but they were on opposing sides during fighting two years ago when Deby’s father was killed.
LNA spokesperson Ahmad Mismari said the operation would involve land and air forces. An LNA media unit distributed photographs of Haftar’s son, Saddam Haftar, overseeing the operation with other LNA officers.
The media unit said the LNA had expelled members of the Chadian opposition and their families from a residential area they were using in a desert town 300 km north of the border with Chad.
Libya has had little internal peace or security since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising against Muammar Qaddafi, and its southern desert border has become a major transit route for trafficking networks.
In a separate development, a leader of Daesh who allegedly planned and sponsored three deadly attacks in the Libyan capital Tripoli in 2018 has been captured, the prime minister said.
“Our forces apprehended on Tuesday a leader of the terrorist organization Daesh, involved in the planning and command of terrorist acts that targeted the institutions of our country and their fallen officials,” Dbeibah, said during a live television broadcast.
The government’s media office offered no further details on the identity or nationality of the alleged jihadist, who was arrested in a joint military operation.
Dbeibah also renewed his government’s commitment to “combat terrorism in all its forms,” to “prosecute anyone involved” in terrorist acts, and to “strengthen stability throughout the country.”
On May 2, 2018, 14 people were killed in a suicide attack claimed by Daesh on the headquarters of the Libyan High Electoral Commission in Tripoli.
On Sept. 10, 2018, a suicide attack by the jihadist group against the headquarters of the Libyan National Oil Company in the capital killed two and wounded 10 company staff.
On Dec. 25, 2018, three people, including a Libyan diplomat, were killed in an attack claimed by Daesh against the Foreign Ministry.
Reuters – AFP