Panafrican News Agency

Libyan Defence minister flags 'suspicious' westward movement of rival LNA forces

Tripoli, Libya (PANA) - The Defence Minister of Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA), Salaheddine al-Nemruch, is raising the red flags about "suspicious movements" of forces of the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by Marshal Khalifa Haftar towards western Libya.

He said his alarm is based on "precise" intelligence, adding that forces loyal to the GNA were ready to counter any attack.

"Our forces are fully prepared to repel any attempt," Mr. al-Nemruch said in a statement issued on Friday.

He was reacting to a statement by the LNA denying the movement of their units towards Libya's western cities.

He recalled that "the aggression by Haftar's militias on 4 April (2019) came on the eve of the Ghadames (peace) conference", adding that the continued violations by the LNA are definite proof that "there is no pact or morality for these militias".

Haftar and his LNA on 4 April, 2019 launched an armed attack to take control of Tripoli and western cities. They caused a lot of destruction, many deaths, hardship and displacement of tens of thousands of people before being defeated in May this year, forcing it to withdraw to their strongholds in the east of the country.

Mr. al-Nemruch on Thursday served an urgent notice to the Chief of Staff and the commanders of the military zones and the joint operations room of the GNA to prepare for any possible attack by Haftar's forces and to wait for the commander's instructions to respond to fire.

Mr. al-Namruch said that information received indicated that Haftar could attack the towns of Beni Walid, Ghariane and Tarhouna, calling for all measures to be taken to repel and prevent any possible attack, with the utmost caution.

"We have been and remain fully committed to the ceasefire and to any comprehensive dialogue that will restore security and stability to Libya," he said.

"But we are also confident in the ability of our army to respond harshly to any further violations or attempts to harm Libya and its people," he added.

Earlier on Friday, General Ahmed al-Mesmari, a spokesman for Haftar's LNA, denied any movement of units of his forces towards cities in western Libya, saying any statement on the subject were only "baseless allegations".

He stressed that they were respecting the ceasefire declared in Cairo on 8 June and were attached to their positions on the Sirte al-Joufra frontline in central Libya. 

-0- PANA BY/JSG/BBA/MA 10Oct2020