Haftar calls on youth to help with battle for Tripoli

Libya sank into chaos after Muammar Qaddafi’s 2011 ouster and is now divided between rival administrations. (File/AFP)
Updated 20 July 2019

Haftar calls on youth to help with battle for Tripoli

  • ‘We are only 5 km away from the capital, our forces are advancing’
  • The internationally-recognized government in Tripoli issued a statement saying it had gathered intelligence about possible airstrikes by LNA forces

CAIRO: The commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) has called on young people in Tripoli to join its offensive to capture the capital from the UN-backed government based there amid warnings from the international community of military escalation and targeting of civilians.

The LNA, led by the eastern commander Khalifa Hafter, reached out via a post published on one of its official Facebook pages on Friday, calling for young people in the city to work with its marching forces to eliminate all militias allied with the Tripoli-based government.
“The decisive hour is not far,” Brig. Gen. Khaled Al-Mahjoub, head of the LNA mobilization department told The Associated Press.
“We are only 5 km away from the capital, our forces are advancing, and they are retracting.”
Libya slid into chaos after the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Qaddafi and is now split between rival authorities in the east and west, each backed by various militias. Haftar’s LNA, which is allied with the eastern government, launched an offensive against Tripoli in April but has made little progress amid stiff resistance by militias loosely allied with the government there.
The fighting has killed more than 1,000 people, mostly combatants, according to the World Health Organization.
The Tripoli-based government issued a statement early on Saturday saying it had gathered information suggesting that Haftar’s forces were planning a military escalation in the form of airstrikes against key sites in the capital, including Mitiga International Airport, Tripoli’s only functioning airport.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Khalifa Hafter’s LNA called for young people in the city to work with its marching forces to eliminate all militias allied with the Tripoli-based government.

• The UN mission in Libya said it was ‘doing its utmost with all local and foreign actors to avoid military escalation and to ensure protection of civilians from any targeting.’

The UN Support Mission in Libya said on Saturday it was “doing its utmost with all local and foreign actors to avoid military escalation and to ensure protection of civilians from any targeting.”

The government called upon the international community to “halt this aggression” and to stop “the bloodshed of the Libyan people.”
A day earlier, the west-based Parliament released a statement saying that it had gathered other intelligence information of possible airstrikes by Haftar’s allies, including Egypt, the UAE and France. The Parliament did not reveal details and there was no immediate response from the three nations.
“We are getting used to their lies,” said Al-Mahjoub in reference to the UN-backed Government of National Accord. “But we will enter the capital. There is no question about that.”
Claudia Gazzini, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, cast doubt over the impact of any LNA airstrikes.
If Haftar “is about to launch a more intensified aerial operation, how (is he) going to use these aerial strikes to control Tripoli if he does not have forces on the ground?” said Gazzini, an expert on Libya’s conflict who recently returned to Italy from Tripoli.
“Based on observations in and around Tripoli and other surrounding cities until yesterday, there was no evidence of major movement of LNA affiliated forces,” she said.


South Sudan says will host peace talks between Sudan and rebels

Updated 13 October 2019

South Sudan says will host peace talks between Sudan and rebels

  • Hamdok will meet rebel leaders from the Sudanese states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile

JUBA: Sudanese Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok will attend peace talks in the South Sudan capital Monday with rebel leaders from several Sudanese states, said official sources in Juba.
“Tomorrow’s meeting is to mark the launching of Sudan’s peace talks,” Ateny Wek Ateny, spokesman for South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir, told AFP Sunday.
Hamdok, who was only appointed in August in a deal between the army and the opposition, will meet rebel leaders from the Sudanese states of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Kiir, who just a few weeks ago signed his own peace deal with rebel leader Riek Machar, offered to mediate between Sudan and the rebels back in November 2018.
This new set of talks follow a first round in September when both sides agreed on a road map for the negotiations.
This week’s meeting is intended to tackle the main issues, said Ateny.
Also attending will be Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who last week won the Nobel Peace Prize, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Their presence, said Ateny, was to give the talks more weight.
A senior Sudanese delegation arrived in Juba on Sunday.
The Sudanese delegation will meet Abdulaziz Al-Hilu, leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N), which is active in Bule Nile and South Kordofan states. Al-Hilu will lead the rebel delegation.
This new peace initiative comes after the fall of longtime Sudanese autocrat Omar Al-Bashir, who was toppled from power by the Sudanese military in April.
Prime Minister Hamdok has been tasked with leading Sudan back to civilian rule, but he has said he also wants to end the conflicts with the rebels.
Over the years, the rebels’ conflict with Khartoum have killed hundreds of thousands of people and forced millions to flee their homes.