Panafrican News Agency

Libya rejects Chadian defence minister's statement

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - Libya has rejected  pronouncement by Chadian Defence minister, Gen. Daouda Ibrahim, who described the country as a "refuge for terrorism", considering the Chadian official's statement as unfounded.

The Libyan News Agency, LANA, said on Friday that the minister's description of  Libya as a "refuge for terrorist groups" is "unacceptable, especially coming from an official of a brotherly and neighbouring state, "with which we share the past and the present, while hoping to share future horizons."

The agency's commentator wrote: "The Chadian minister has deliberately mixed up the cards and told untruths because of the burning events in his country, which occurred after the death of President Idriss Déby Itno, who was killed on 20 April  on the front line of fighting with rebels in the north of the country."

A statement from the Chadian Ministry of Defence said on Thursday that "Libya is the refuge of terrorists".

The Chadian ministry added: "We cannot accuse Libya of supporting terrorists because it is a country without a state, claiming the defeat of the rebels who led the attack since mid-April."

Terrorist groups and armed opposition formations "are not a Libyan creation or a cause of the Libyan crisis as some would have us believe," the agency added, saying that these groups have been present in the Sahel region, particularly in Chad, since the 1960s.

The late Idriss Déby "faced several coup attempts since he came to power, notably in 2006 and 2008," the agency commented, asking "was Libya at the time a refuge for terrorists", as the Chadian Defence minister had claimed.

"The current situation in Libya, the circulation of arms and the presence in the country of mercenaries from neighbouring countries, among them Chadians who took part in the armed struggle in Libya to take over the power and resources of our country, has certainly worsened because of the precarious security situation in the Sahel," the agency added.

For LANA, the presence of the president of the Libyan Presidential Council, Mohamed al-Manfi, at the funeral of the late Chadian president, "proves that Libya, despite the crisis prevailing in it, is a state that believes in strengthening relations of cooperation and good neighbourliness, and that the new Libyan executive aspires to achieve national reconciliation and build balanced relations with everyone on the basis of cooperation and the rejection of intervention in the internal affairs of other countries."

The agency called for "a geopolitical and strategic approach" in which all countries in the region and foreign countries with interests in this troubled part of the continent, which includes the Sahel and North African states, including France, the European Union countries, the United Kingdom and the United States, take part.

"This approach aims to "secure borders and combat terrorist groups as well as human, arms and drug trafficking gangs and cross-border crimes", the agency wrote, calling for "constructive cooperation between all to build realistic policies, especially at the economic level, to stop illegal migration flows from the South to the North and allow the region's populations to benefit from natural resources that have been plundered for decades".

After the death of Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno on 20 April, a Transitional Military Council was created, headed by his son, Gen. Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno.

The Council is to run the country for a transitional period of 18 months, but Chadian rebels continue military operations against the government army.

Fighting continues between the army and fighters from the Front for Alternance and Concord who have moved from southern Libya along the Niger border into Chad.

-0- PANA AT/IN/JSG/BBA/AR 8May2021