Haftar: some Libyan officials support al-Qaeda

A man holds a picture of General Khalifa Haftar during a demonstration in support of “Operation Dignity” in Benghazi. (File photo: Reuters)

Renegade ex-general Khalifa Haftar warned that some of the country’s National Libyan Congress - the main body of lawmakers - support al-Qaeda and other radical groups in an interview with an Egyptian daily published on Friday.

When asked about jihadist groups that have targeted Libyan police and troops since the fall of former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, Haftar, the self-declared leader of the Libyan National Army, described these groups as “belonging to al-Qaeda, and its heads are present in the National Congress itself.”

He lamented how the Libyan people have put their trust in the National Congress to rebuild the country, but instead “[these National Congress members] used their positions to bring terrorist elements from al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia, even some others from jihadist movements.”

“All of this is to prevent the army [from being strong],” he said, vowing that “the army is continuing and determined to eradicate terrorists from Libya.”

On Friday, thousands of demonstrators rallied in support of Haftar in the capital Tripoli and in Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 uprising against Qaddafi and hotbed of an Islamist militancy since.

“The army is almost completely formed, and we’ve only called on the army reserve to join… we don’t deal with militias as they are on their way to demise,” Haftar, who has tried and failed to topple Qaddafi in the mid-1980s, said.

He added: “Libyans elected a National Congress which they thought would create a change for Libya and its people, turning it into a happy paradise.”

“The congress did not deliver, so the people no longer wanted it to represent them.”

‘Terrorist hub’

On Wednesday, Haftar warned that Libya has become a “terrorist hub” and then for elections to take place in Libya.

He told al-Masry al-Youm that “no elections can take place when people are being beheaded and hands are being cut off, detaining people, stealing and others,” in reference to radicals applying their extreme version of Islam in Libya.

“We have information about the presence of many Egyptians who escaped their country and joined others from Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Algeria, Tunisia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States.”

In a related story, Tunisia said Saturday it has postponed an emergency meeting with its North African neighbors to discuss the chaotic situation in Libya, citing a lack of “foresight.”

With lawlessness in Libya rising, Tunisia had been due to hold a session on Sunday with other Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) states to find a political solution to the unrest in the mostly desert nation.

Tunisia, Libya, Mauritania, Algeria and Morocco make up AMU.
 

(AFP)

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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