By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 19 March 2014:
Reports that the Air Force Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Ahmed Habib Al-Mismari, has been dismissed . . .[restrict]from his post are untrue, he insists. Speaking to the Libya Herald today, Mismari also denied social media reports that Benghazi’s Benina Airbase was now under the control of the controversial Major General Khalifa Hafter. Saad Al-Warfali remained the base commander, he said.
Mismari did admit, nonetheless, that he and Warfali were under investigation by the military prosecutor for giving information to the media and meeting with Hafter The investigation had been requested by the Chief of Staff, Major General Jadallah Al-Obeidi.
However, a miltary police source told this newspaper today that Obeidi had approved Mismari’s sacking and that all that was awaited was the signature of the acting Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni in his continuing capacity as Defence Minister as soon as he returned from Ghat.
Hafter, who remains a top army officer, has called for the removal of the General National Congress and the government and their replacement by a military council and went as far as announcing on TV on 14 February that it was going to happen. Although the government then ordered his arrest, it did not happen and he has since been campaigning in favour of his so-called “initiative”, mainly in the east of the country where there is substantial disillusionment with what is seen as a Tripoli-centric government.
He was at Benina Airbase with Mismari and Warfali on Monday to meet with a number of officers about the so-called initiative. A statement afterwards said that those there had approved Hafter’s 14 February initiative, that the armed forces had to be rebuilt, and that Hafter must be appointed Chief of Staff.