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Libya: Hafter sends “non-subservient” message to transition gov’t

Libya's perennial warlord Gen Khalifa Hafter has sent a message of defiance to the transition government, warning that his militia…

Libya’s perennial warlord Gen Khalifa Hafter has sent a message of defiance to the transition government, warning that his militia would never be subservient to it.Speaking on Monday as the Libyan National Army turned 81 years since its founding, Hafter said his organisation would not play second fiddle to the transition order.

The renegade General who is based in the eastern city of Benghazi had pledged loyalty to the current transition government instituted last February. 

At the time he had backed the government as a “peaceful and democratic alternative”.

However, in a shocking volteface Haftar said he and his movement will “not be subject to any authority except to an authority that will be directly elected by the people.”

Haftar still regards himself as the commander in chief of the Libyan National Army and conducts activities independent of the transition government. 

Prior to backing the transition government, Hafter’s militia had launched a daring invasion of the Libyan capital Tripoli in 2019 but failed to capture the city.

The internationally backed government based in Tripoli had been supported by Turkey and Qatar.

Hafter had received support from Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.

A UN-brokered deal had ended the offensive last October and Libya appeared to have turned a corner after Hafter declared his support for a new transition government which would oversee democratic elections in December 2021.

Oil-rich Libya descended into anarchy after the 2011 violent overthrow of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi. 

Since then the country had been administratively split into two with one half being ruled from Tripoli in the west while the other from the Benghazi in the east. 

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