Libyan Armed Forces General Khalifa Haftar has denied statements published by media outlets a few days ago saying that he accused Saif al-Islam al-Qaddafi, slain ex-president Muammar Qaddafi’s son and presidential nominee, of being backed by the Muslim Brotherhood.
The statement was posted on the Libyan Armed Forces official Facebook page by their spokesman, Colonel Ahmad al-Mesmari, on Thursday evening.
“Haftar did not offend Saif al-Islam al-Qaddafi in his last statements, not even close,” al-Mesmari posted. “Haftar considers him a Libyan citizen with the same rights as everyone else.” Al-Mesmari also accused the brotherhood of standing behind these fabrications in order to “achieve their satanic goals.”
This came days after Jeune Afrique magazine published statements attributing to Haftar as saying that he called Saif al-Islam a “poor guy” who is being taken advantage of for his money and that “many gullible people still believe in him.”
According to the magazine, Haftar also said that “Saif al-Islam’s influence has become a thing of the past” while describing him as “politically poor with no basis to make him a good bet for the coming period.” Al-Mesmari said that the journalist responsible for the piece will be prosecuted.
Denial under pressure
The statements attributed to Haftar caused uproar among Qaddafi regime supporters, and those supporting Saif al-Islam who is running for the upcoming Libyan presidential elections.
“Everyone was surprised by what Haftar said lately about Qaddafi’s son who is supported by thousands to run for president,” Ashraf Abdelfattah, a member of the Supreme Council of the Libyan Tribes said. “It was considered a step in the wrong direction by him, and left behind adverse reactions against Haftar.”
“Everyone must be aware that Saif al-Islam al-Qaddafi is a difficult figure in the Libyan equation. He is a fiery figure. Anyone who tries to go against him will burn. He is a reconciled man who won the hearts of many Libyans, even those who disagree with him,” Abdelfattah told Al Arabiya.