Libyan strongman bombed Chad rebels, his forces say

Supporters of Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar take part in a rally in Benghazi, Libya. (Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetori/File Photo)
Updated 29 March 2018
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Libyan strongman bombed Chad rebels, his forces say

LIBREVILLE: The armed forces of Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said on Thursday that their warplanes had attacked Chadian rebels in the country’s southern desert last weekend.
Air raids targeted a rebel-held roadblock 400 kilometers (250 miles) southeast of Sebha, as well as other positions in an oasis in the Terbu region 400 km farther south, an official with Haftar’s so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) told AFP.
“The strikes aim at restoring security and applying law in the south,” the official said, without giving details about the identity of the targets.
An armed Chadian group, the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic (CCMSR), said it had been attacked by Haftar’s planes.
CCMSR’s spokesman in exile, Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol, said there were no casualties.
Chadian President Idriss Deby, he charged, had “subcontracted” Haftar to destroy rebels in Libya who are fighting to overturn the Chadian leader.
CCMSR claims to have several thousand fighters in Chad. It split in 2016 from another anti-Deby group in Libya, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), based in Jufra, which is reputedly on good terms with Haftar.
Chad has a long history of revolt by rebels staged from across its borders. Deby and his precedessor Hissene Habre were themselves rebels who seized power by force of arms.
However, rebel groups today are relatively weak and divided, often using trafficking or extortion to raise funds to survive.
Three CCMSR members, including its leader, Hassan Boulmaye, were arrested last October in the fellow Sahel country of Niger.
Haftar, who opposes a UN-backed unity government based in Tripoli, announced the “liberation” of the eastern city of Benghazi last July after a three-year campaign.


Calm in Hodeidah as observers move in to monitor cease-fire

Sporadic clashes continued until about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, but residents said there was calm after that. (AFP)
Updated 19 December 2018
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Calm in Hodeidah as observers move in to monitor cease-fire

  • “Both parties said publicly they are abiding by the cease-fire,” a UN official said
  • The truce in Hodeidah officially began at midnight on Monday

JEDDAH: Truce monitoring observers will be deployed in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Wednesday as the first 24 hours of a UN-brokered cease-fire passed without incident.

The Redeployment Coordination Committee comprises members of the Yemeni government supported by the Saudi-led coalition, and Houthi militias backed by Iran, and is overseen by the UN. 

The head of the committee will report to the UN Security Council every week.

Deployment of the observers is the latest stage in a peace deal reached after talks last week in Sweden. Both sides in the conflict agreed to a cease-fire in Hodeidah and the withdrawal of their forces within 21 days.

“Both parties said publicly they are abiding by the cease-fire,” a UN official said on Tuesday.

Local authorities and police will run the city and its three port facilities under UN supervision, and the two sides are barred from bringing in reinforcements.

UN envoy Martin Griffith said the committee was expected to start its work swiftly “to translate the momentum built up in Sweden into achievements on the ground.”

The truce in Hodeidah officially began at midnight on Monday. Sporadic clashes continued until about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, but residents said there was calm after that. 

“We are hopeful that things will go back to the way they were and that there will be no aggression, no airstrikes and lasting security,” said one, Amani Mohammed.

Another resident, Mohammed Al-Saikel, said he was optimistic the cease-fire would pave the way for a broader truce. “We are hopeful about this cease-fire in Hodeidah and one for Yemen in general,” he said. “We will reach out in peace to whoever does the same.”

The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution that asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to submit proposals by the end of the month on how to monitor the cease-fire.

The resolution, submitted by the UK, “calls on all parties to the conflict to take further steps to facilitate the unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies including food, fuel, medicine and other essential imports and humanitarian personnel into and across the country.”