Posts Tagged ‘Khalifa Haftar’

Explosion at mosque in Libyan city of Benghazi, residents say

February 9, 2018

Image Caption : Members of the self-styled Libyan National Army, loyal to the country’s east strongman Khalifa Haftar, patrol the roads leading into the eastern city of Benghazi on February 7, 2018. (AFP)
BENGHAZI: An explosion took place at a mosque in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Friday, residents said.
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There was no immediate word on casualties.
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Two weeks ago, around 35 people were killed by a twin bombing at a mosque in the same city.
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Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, is controlled by the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar. The LNA was battling Islamists, including some linked to Islamic State and al Qaeda, as well as other opponents until late last year in the Mediterranean port city.
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Haftar, a possible contender in national elections that could be held by the end of 2018, has built his reputation on delivering stability in Benghazi and beyond, promising to halt the chaos that developed after a NATO-backed uprising ended Muammar Gaddafi’s long rule nearly seven years ago.
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Haftar launched his military campaign in Benghazi in May 2014, in response to a series of bombings and assassinations blamed on Islamist militants.
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In past months there have been occasional, smaller scale bombings apparently targeting LNA allies or supporters.
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Rights group says displaced Libyans cannot return to Benghazi

February 1, 2018

A picture taken on Nov. 9, 2017 shows a tank of the self-styled Libyan National Army, loyal to the country’s east strongman Khalifa Haftar. (Abdullah Doma/AFP)
CAIRO: Human Rights Watch says armed groups, some linked to the self-styled Libyan National Army, have prevented thousands of internally displaced families from returning to their homes in the eastern city of Benghazi.
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The New York-based group said Thursday that displaced Libyans have reported theft of property, torture, arrests and forcible disappearances at the hands of groups linked to the LNA, which is led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.
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It urged Haftar to “act resolutely to end the attacks on civilians in Benghazi.”
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In January, Haftar instructed his forces to facilitate the return of those displaced and denounced forced displacement and attacks on private property.
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HRW says an estimated 13,000 families fled Benghazi after Haftar launched a campaign against Islamic militants in 2014.
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Libya fell into chaos following a 2011 uprising.

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More than 30 dead in car bombings at Benghazi mosque — “direct or indiscriminate attacks against civilians… constitute war crimes”

January 24, 2018
© AFP | Libyans check the aftermath of an explosion in the eastern city of Benghazi on January 24, 2018

BENGHAZI (LIBYA) (AFP) – 

More than 30 people were dead and dozens wounded after two car bombings outside a mosque frequented by jihadist opponents in Libya’s second city Benghazi, medical officials said Wednesday.

The attack after evening prayers on Tuesday underlined the continued chaos in Libya, which has been wracked by violence and divisions since dictator Moamer Kadhafi was toppled and killed in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising.

Benghazi has been relatively calm since military strongman Khalifa Haftar announced the eastern city’s “liberation” from jihadists in July last year after a three-year campaign, but sporadic violence has continued.

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Khalifa Haftar

The bombers blew up two cars 30 minutes apart outside the mosque in the central neighbourhood of Al-Sleimani, according to security officials.

Emergency and security workers who had rushed to the scene were among those killed in the second blast.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility but the mosque is known to be a base for Salafist groups which fought the jihadists alongside Haftar’s forces.

Mourners gathered outside the mosque on Wednesday, walking through puddles of water stained red with blood. Vehicles in a parking lot outside the mosque were burnt-out and mangled, their windows shattered.

The city’s Al-Jala hospital received 25 dead and 51 wounded, its spokeswoman Fadia al-Barghathi said. The Benghazi Medical Centre received nine dead and 36 wounded, spokesman Khalil Gider said.

Ahmad al-Fituri, a security official for Haftar’s forces, was among those killed, military spokesman Milud al-Zwei said.

Medical officials said many of the wounded were in critical condition and the death toll was likely to rise.

– Political turmoil –

Haftar supports an administration based in the east of the country. It declared three days of mourning following the attack.

A UN-backed unity government based in the capital Tripoli, the Government of National Accord (GNA), has struggled to assert its authority outside the west.

The GNA condemned the attack as a “terrorist and cowardly act”.

The UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) denounced the bombings as “horrific” and warned that “direct or indiscriminate attacks against civilians… constitute war crimes”.

UN efforts to reconcile the rival administrations have produced no concrete result.

Haftar said in late December he would support elections in 2018 to bring the country out of chaos, but suggested he could take measures if efforts for “a peaceful power transition via free and democratic elections were exhausted”.

Haftar’s opponents accuse him of wanting to seize power and establish a military dictatorship, while his supporters have called for him to take control by “popular mandate”.

UN envoy Ghassan Salame presented a plan to the Security Council in September to hold parliamentary and presidential elections this year, but analysts are sceptical they will take place.

Clashes between rival militias are common, with fighting at Tripoli’s airport last week leaving 20 dead and forcing the cancellation of all flights for five days.

The turmoil has stifled efforts to restore oil-rich Libya’s economy and made the country fertile ground for extremists.

The Islamic State group has a significant presence and was in control of coastal city Sirte from late 2014 to late 2016, when the jihadists were pushed out by pro-GNA forces.

People-smugglers have also taken advantage of the chaos to turn the country into a major gateway for migrants heading to Europe.

Libya strongman Haftar says backs 2018 elections

December 29, 2017

AFP

© Tunisian Presidency/AFP | Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar has called for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018

BENGHAZI (LIBYA) (AFP) – Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar has said he will support 2018 elections in the war-torn country but also implied he would seize power if the polls did not occur.Late Thursday, Haftar said presidential and parliamentary elections were “a fundamental solution” to Libya’s crisis and should be held “without delay or fraud”.

Oil-rich Libya has been wracked by chaos since a 2011 uprising that toppled longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

A UN-backed unity government in Tripoli has failed to impose its authority nationwide, and has been rejected by a rival administration backed by Haftar in the east of the country.

This month, Haftar said the unity government had definitively lost all legitimacy after the expiry of the December 2015 UN-brokered agreement that gave rise to it.

“But the accord is one thing and the UN mission’s work (towards holding elections) is another,” he told the Al-Hadath television channel Thursday.

Haftar’s opponents accuse him of wanting to seize power and establish a military dictatorship, while his supporters have called for him to take control by “popular mandate”.

Haftar said this “mandate” could be a possibility “if all classic mechanisms allowing a peaceful power transition via free and democratic elections were exhausted”.

The UN Security Council has insisted the December 2015 deal remains the “only viable framework to end the Libyan political crisis” and prepare for elections.

Qaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam to run for Libya presidency

December 22, 2017

In this file photo, Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s son Seif Al-Islam speaks during an interview with Reuters in Tripoli Mar. 10, 2011. (Reuters)

CAIRO: Former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam plans to run for the country’s presidency in elections next year, nearly seven years after his father was deposed and killed.

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The younger Qaddafi, 45, “enjoys the support of major tribes in the country,” said family spokesman Basem Al-Hashimi Al-Soul of the Qaddafi-supporting Supreme Council of Libyan Tribes. He is expected to publicly announce his candidacy soon.
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Qaddafi was captured and detained by the Zintan militia in southern Libya in November 2011, after the revolt against his father. He was released in July 2016 and a year later was pardoned by the government in Tobruk led by military strongman Khalifa Haftar.
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His exact whereabouts since then are unknown, but he is thought to have met local tribes and supporters of his father’s regime to discuss running for the presidency.
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Qaddafi’s supporters are confident that he will return to the political scene, Mohammad Gomaa, an analyst at the Ahram Center for Strategic Studies in Cairo, told Arab News. Pressure from these supporters for Qaddafi’s release indicated that the old regime had growing political influence, he said.
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However, Paul Sullivan, a Middle East expert in Washington, cast doubt on whether Qaddafi would be able to unify Libya’s factions, who derive their legitimacy from their roles in the 2011 revolution and afterward.
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“The Qaddafis were some of the most divisive people in the history of Libya. There are lots of Libyans who still harbor deep resentment and anger, and fear, toward the ousted leader,” he told Arab News.
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Nevertheless, events could not be predicted and may hold “lots of surprises,” he said.
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Haftar, the military commander whose forces control large parts Libya, has also hinted that he would run for the presidency in next year’s elections. He said he would “listen to the will of the people.”
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Libya in grip of chaos two years after unity deal

December 21, 2017

Supporters of Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar take part in a rally demanding Haftar to take over, after a UN deal for a political solution missed what they said was a self-imposed deadline on Sunday, in Benghazi, Libya, on Dec. 17, 2017. (Reuters)

TRIPOLI: Two years after a deal to form a unity government aimed at ending deep divisions between Libya’s opposing sides, the country remains mired in crisis with no solution in sight.

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The UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco in December 2015 establishing a Government of National Accord (GNA) brought hopes of an easing of chaos that followed the 2011 revolution.
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But Libya has remained riven by divisions between the GNA in Tripoli led by Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj and a rival administration backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar in the east.
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The GNA’s position risks being further undermined by the expiry of its mandate — which under the 2015 accord was for one year and renewable only once — on Dec. 17.
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Instead of healing rifts, experts say the deal actually deepened tensions in the North African country.
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“I think it has never been the real solution for the country,” said Federica Saini Fasanotti, an analyst with the Washington-based Brookings Institution.
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The agreement “has never been recognized by the Libyan people,” she added.
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Years of political turmoil have followed the overthrow and killing of Libya’s long-time dictator Muammar Qaddafi in the 2011 revolution.
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People-smugglers took advantage of the chaos to turn the country into a major gateway for migrants heading to Europe, while Daesh group jihadists also established a foothold.
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Underscoring the insecurity plaguing the country, the mayor of Libya’s third-largest city Misrata was killed by unidentified assailants who abducted him on Sunday as he returned from an official trip overseas.
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Since its arrival in Tripoli in March 2016, the GNA has failed to stamp its authority across large parts of the country, controlled by dozens of militias of shifting allegiances.
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Its legitimacy was questioned from the very start by its rivals and it was unable to secure a confidence vote by Libya’s elected parliament based in the east of the country.
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Haftar, who has never recognized the GNA’s authority, said on Sunday that the “expiry of the Libyan political accord” on December 17 marked a “historic and dangerous turning point.”
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“All bodies resulting from this agreement automatically lose their legitimacy, which has been contested from the first day they took office,” he said.
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Saini Fasanotti, however, does not see major repercussions from the end of the GNA’s mandate.
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“The GNA in my opinion has never been a real political actor in Libya, so I do not think that the situation will change a lot at the moment in the Libya arena,” she said.
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Haftar is accused by his opponents of wanting to take power and establish a military dictatorship.
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Haftar wanted to take advantage of the end of the mandate of the unity government to stage “a coup,” a GNA official who did not want to be named told AFP.
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“But threats that were directly addressed to him by the international community dissuaded him,” the official added.
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Haftar acknowledged as much on Sunday, saying he was “threatened with firm international measures” if he dared to take initiatives outside the framework set up by the international community and the United Nations.
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The UN Security Council last week insisted the 2015 deal remains the “only viable framework to end the Libyan political crisis” and prepare for elections.
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According to Issandr El Amrani at the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank, Haftar does not have “sufficient strength or support” to take power in Libya.
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“He faces particularly strong opposition from (rivals in) the west, he said, especially in Misrata,” 200 kilometers east of Tripoli and home to Libya’s most powerful armed groups.
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UN envoy Ghassan Salame presented a plan to the UN Security Council in September to hold legislative and presidential elections next year.
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Analysts are however skeptical the elections will be successful.
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“Elections can be a double edge weapon, because they can increase the frictions among the competitors and their followers. I am not sure that in this very moment they are the best solution,” Saini Fasanotti said.
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The ICG’s Amrani believes that “without an improvement in the relationship between Haftar and (groups in) the west, especially Misrata, it will be difficult to hold credible elections.”
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Libya strongman says UN-backed government’s mandate expired

December 17, 2017

AFP

© Tunisian Presidency/AFP | A handout picture released by the Tunisian Presidency Press Service shows Libyan General Khalifa Haftar speaking during his meeting with the Tunisian president on September 18, 2017 at Carthage Palace in Tunis

BENGHAZI (LIBYA) (AFP) – Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar insisted Sunday that the mandate of the country’s UN-backed government has run out after what he said was the expiration of a tattered 2015 political deal.The UN-brokered agreement signed in Morocco on December 17, 2015 established Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) for a one-year period, renewable only once.

Despite that deal, Libya has remained divided between the GNA government in Tripoli led by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj and a rival administration backed by Haftar in the east.

In a televised speech Haftar, who has never recognised the GNA’s authority, said the “expiry of the Libyan political accord” marked a “historic and dangerous turning point”.

“All bodies resulting from this agreement automatically lose their legitimacy, which has been contested from the first day they took office,” he said.

The United Nations Security Council on Thursday insisted the 2015 deal remains the “only viable framework” to prepare for elections next year.

The UN in September launched a fresh push to agree a new accord aimed at bringing stability to Libya, which has been in chaos since the 2011 ouster of long-time dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

One of the main stumbling blocks is the inclusion in any potential government of Haftar, whose Libyan National Army dominates the country’s east.

In a statement on Sunday the UN’s special representative to Libya Ghassan Salame said Libyans were “fed up with violence” and hoped “for a political solution, for reconciliation and for harmony”.

“I urge all parties to heed their voices and refrain from any actions that could undermine the political process,” the statement said.

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East Libyan commander Haftar says will listen to will of ‘free Libyan people’

December 17, 2017

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FILE PHOTO: Libya’s eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar attends General Security conference, in Benghazi, Libya, October 14, 2017. REUTERS/Esam Omran Al-Fetori Reuters

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar, whose forces control parts of the country, said on Sunday he would listen to the will of “free Libyan people,”, in the strongest indication so far that he might run in elections expected next year.

Haftar styles himself as a strongman capable of ending the chaos that has gripped Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

His comments, made at a military graduation ceremony, recall those of Egypt’s General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when he was testing the ground before becoming a presidential candidate. Sisi was eventually elected in 2014.

Just as Sisi built up wide support after toppling Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Mursi in 2013, supporters of Haftar speak of a similar situation developing in Libya, with rallies held in some eastern cities calling on him to run.

“We declare clearly and unequivocally our full compliance with the orders of the free Libyan people, which is its own guardian and the master of its land,” Haftar said in a speech.

He spoke in the eastern city of Benghazi, from where his forces managed to expel Islamist militants during a three-year battle.

Haftar, a general from the Gaddafi era, also dismissed a series of U.N.-led talks to bridge differences between Libya’s two rival administrations, one linked to him in the east and one backed by the United Nations in the capital Tripoli.

“All the dialogues starting from Ghadames and ending in Tunis and going through Geneva and Skhirat (in Morocco) were just ink on paper,” he said, listing host cities of U.N. talks.

OBSTACLE

The United Nations launched a new round of talks in September in Tunis between the rival factions to prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2018, but they broke off after one month without any deal.

A major obstacle to progress was the issue of Haftar’s own rule. He remains popular among some Libyans in the east weary of the chaos but faces opposition from many in western Libya.

In his speech Haftar said his forces, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), could be only placed under an authority that had been elected by the Libyan people, in a further indication that he might take part in the election.

Haftar’s supporters had set Sunday as a deadline for a U.N. deal or calling on the general to take over for several years. The U.N. has rejected this.

The large North African country has been in turmoil since Gaddafi’s downfall gave space to Islamist militants and smuggling networks that have sent hundreds of thousands of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe.

Haftar is just one of many players in Libya, which is controlled by armed groups divided along political, religious, regional and business lines.

The president of the eastern House of Representatives backing Haftar, Aguila Saleh, said it was time to start preparing for elections, according to a video posted on social media.

“I urge to join preparing parliamentary and presidential elections,” he said.

Reporting by Ayman al-Warfalli; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Gareth Jones and David Evans

Libyan leader: Qatar, Turkey and Sudan stoking conflict — Russia’s strategy in North Africa and the Middle East becomes more clear

December 16, 2017

Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam, cousin of Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam’s former President Muammar Qaddafi. (Reuters)

CAIRO: Ahmed Gaddaf Al-Dam, political leader of the Libyan National Struggle Front (LNSF) and cousin of the late Muammar Qaddafi, accused Qatar, Turkey and Sudan of working to fuel the conflict in his country.

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They are doing so “for the service of Israel, the fragmentation of Libya and the division of its territories, the forfeiture of its people and resources, and the installation of a puppet government,” he said in a statement.
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Hundreds of Daesh militants have entered Libya via Tunisia from Syria and Iraq, he said, accusing European countries of overlooking this.
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“Libya has been subjected to a major conspiracy, and the West does not want to end the conflict in Libya because Western interests conflict with Arab interests,” he added.
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A spokesman for the Libyan National Army (LNA) earlier warned of continued pockets of Daesh and Al-Qaeda in the country, and said intelligence reports confirmed the movement of Daesh terrorists from Syria and Iraq to Libya with the help of foreign countries.
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Gaddaf Al-Dam said the LNA “captured a few weeks ago many groups of intruding terrorists in Kafrah” in southeast Libya, and some terrorists entering the country then head to Egypt.
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He accused some quarters in Qatar and Libya of conspiring to kill him, warning them that they are “messing with the lion’s tail.”
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Libyans are helpless due to the lack of a recognized political administration that can protect them, Gaddaf Al-Dam said.
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“I feel pain every day and cry every morning because of the situation Libya has reached,” he added.
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The LNSF was established on Dec. 16, 2015, and includes 10 Libyan political organizations inside and outside the country.
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It supports the LNA under the command of Khalifa Haftar to “restore the sovereignty of Libya and purge it from terrorism and terrorists, and restore safety and security to the Libyan people.”
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The LNSF says it aims to reach lasting national reconciliation without any foreign interference.
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Gaddaf Al-Dam warned all those conspiring against Libya: “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
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Meanwhile, the LNA said the operation to clear Benghazi of terrorist pockets is ongoing. The area around the Baladi Hotel has witnessed fighting for about 10 days amid a cautious advance by the LNA due to the presence of land mines.
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Gaddaf Al-Dam said he was not surprised by US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital because that was his declared position since the election campaign.
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RUSSIA CLAIMS VICTORY IN SYRIA WAR, NOW MOSCOW HAS ITS EYES ON LIBYA CRISIS

Newsweek

Moscow’s top diplomat said Tuesday that his country sought a role in ending the ongoing conflict in Libya just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the beginning of the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria, where the leader recently declared victory over ISIS.

During a meeting in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Libyan Government of National Accord Foreign Minister Mohamed Taha Siala that the Russian government was prepared to work with all parties in Libya, which has been ravaged by war since a rebel and jihadi uprising, supported by Western military alliance NATO, overthrew and killed longtime leader Muammar el-Qaddafi in 2011. Russia has been critical of the U.S. and its allies’ efforts in the North African state and has also held talks with Libyan military leader Khalifa Haftar, a rival to the U.N.-backed government.

Related: U.S. made secret deal with ISIS to let thousands of fighters flee Raqqa to battle Assad in Syria, former ally says

“The Russian Federation is ready to provide all-around support towards achieving a final arrangement. We established contacts with absolutely all political groups and tribes at the very beginning of the Libyan crisis,” Lavrov said.

Lavrov later added, “We still maintain close interaction with all the parties involved. We hope that we will be able to increase bilateral cooperation with a united, sovereign and free Libya when the situation stabilizes and all the threats to Libyan statehood and security are removed.”

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  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) welcomes his U.N.-backed Libyan counterpart Mohamed Taher Siala for their meeting in Moscow on December 12, 2017. Russia has sought to capitalize on Western setbacks in Libya by asserting its own role, which may also build on Moscow’s victory in Syria by bolstering a presence in the Mediterranean.YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

After the death of Qaddafi, who critics at home and in the West accused of human rights abuses and political oppression, Libya’s internal factions quickly turned on one another, opening the door for Islamist insurgency, much of which has been linked to Al-Qaeda and ISIS. The ongoing violence and instability led former President Barack Obama to call U.S. intervention in Libya his “worst mistake.” Years before his own presidency, Donald Trump warned in 2011 that “As bad as Qaddafi was—what comes next in Libya will be worse—just watch,” although he at times also appeared to support U.S. intervention.

As the ongoing conflict was largely overshadowed by bloodshed in Iraq and Syria, Libya was once again sprung into international headlines when a CNN investigation last month produced graphic images of a slave trade that has flourished amid lack of a unified national authority. The U.S. has been a staunch supporter of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, but Russia has pursued a more multifaceted approach, courting both the U.N.’s ally as well as the Tobruk-based House of Representatives led by Haftar, whose armed forces helped defeat jihadis attempting to establish their own, ultraconservative rule over the country.

In October, the U.N. Security Council agreed to revise and reinforce a previous 2015 agreement that would see a unified, inclusive government. Lavrov emphasized Russia’s support for this initiative on Tuesday and told Siala that he looked forward to his “views on the Libyan settlement process, especially ahead of the next UN-mediated intra-Libyan meeting between Tripoli and Tobruk representatives next week.”

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (R) welcomes General Khalifa Haftar (L), commander in the Libyan National Army, during a meeting in Moscow, Russia August 14, 2017.SERGEI KARPUKHIN/REUTERS

While the U.S. has also thrown its weight behind the same peace process, Washington and its allies have viewed Moscow’s role in Libya and the Mediterranean in general with deep suspicion. A year after the U.S. began bombing ISIS targets in Syria in 2014, Russia joined in at the request of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who, like Qaddafi, was considered an illegitimate leader by the West, Turkey and Gulf Arab states, as they sponsored a 2011 insurgency against the Syrian leader. Russia’s backing has since helped the Syrian government regain control of most of the country, where a coalition of Syria, Russia and Iran declared victory last month.

Putin recently announced the beginning of a withdrawal of his troops from Syria but said that Moscow’s Mediterranean bases near the eastern cities of Latakia and Tartus would remain. This move, along with Russia’s role in Libya and further evidenced by last week’s agreement allowing the Russian military to use Egyptian airspace, reported by United Press International, has compelled some observers to draw a link between Russia’s strategy in North Africa and the Middle East and its greater effort to counter NATO in Europe.

http://www.newsweek.com/russia-claim-victory-syria-war-moscow-has-eye-libya-crisis-746069

HRW condemns summary executions in eastern Libya

November 29, 2017

AFP

© AFP | A member of the self-styled Libyan National Army loyal to Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar fires a rocket-propelled grenade during clashes with militants in the eastern city of Benghazi on November 9, 2017

TRIPOLI (AFP) – 

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Human Rights Watch on Wednesday condemned a series of summary executions of dozens of people in areas of eastern Libya under the control of controversial strongman Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.

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Khalifa Haftar

The New York-based watchdog called on Haftar’s Libyan National Army to make good on a promise to investigate the latest killings and to hand over a suspect wanted by the International Criminal Court in connection with previous executions.

Police discovered the bodies of 36 men, all of them executed, near Al-Abyar, 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Libya’s second city Benghazi, on October 26.

Image result for Al-Abyar, Libya, Benghazi, map

Two days later, Haftar ordered the military prosector to investigate but no findings have been announced and no suspects have been detained.

“The LNA’s pledges to conduct inquiries into repeated unlawful killings in areas under their control in eastern Libya have so far led nowhere,” said HRW’s deputy Middle East and North Africa director, Eric Goldstein.

“The LNA will be condoning apparent war crimes if their pledge to investigate the gruesome discovery in Al-Abyar proves to be another empty promise,” he added.

A local security official told AFP at the time that the bodies found in Al-Abyar belonged to suspected jihadists, 19 of them foreigners.

Human Rights Watch said it had reviewed multiple lists containing a total of 25 names of men found at Al-Abyar, but could not verify which were civilians and which, if any, were fighters affiliated with forces opposing the LNA.

However, it cited relatives of six of the dead as saying that they were civilians who had been taken from their homes by armed men in front of family members.

The Al-Abyar killings were the latest in a series of summary executions in areas of eastern Libya under Haftar’s control over the past two years.

In August, ICC judges issued an arrest warrant for Mahmoud Mustafa Busayf Al-Werfalli, a commander of the the Benghazi-based Al-Saiqa brigade, on suspicion of involvement in war crimes including executions of 33 people.

Werfalli is accused of having ordered or personally carried out seven executions between March and July this year and in June 2016 that were filmed and posted to social media sites.

The LNA has said Werfalli is already in custody and will be tried by a military tribunal.

Libya has been wracked by lawlessness ever since the NATO-backed overthrow of longtime dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011.

It has two rival administrations — a UN-backed government based in the capital Tripoli and a rival one backed by Hafar in the east.

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Libya: Mass Extra-Judicial Execution

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

Need for Investigation, Accountability