By Sami Zaptia.
London, 25 May 2016:
The Libyan National Army (LNA) has warned that it is only 10 KM from Tripoli and . . .[restrict]that it will be liberating Tripoli soon. The LNA has warned that it would be liberating Tripoli a number of times since the capital’s occupation by militias in the summer of 2014.
The warning came Tuesday from Chief of Staff Abdul Razak Al-Nazhuri who was attending the graduation ceremony of 1,600 House of Representatives (HoR) Ministry of Interior Special Forces in Zintan. He was also conducting a tour of LNA-loyal forces in the western region. The graduates are said to be from all regions of Libya.
Zintan and its militias are loyal to the eastern-based HoR and its LNA based in eastern Libya.
It was the fighting between the Zintani-led militias and the Misrata-led militias in Tripoli in 2014 that led to the current political split of Libya. The fighting led to the destruction of a number of oil storage tankers, the destruction of numerous aircrafts and to the total destruction of Tripoli International Airport.
Nazhuri said that there must be one unified Libya and Libyan army and police and that the LNA will not accept ministers (in the Government of National Accord – GNA) that had been supplying terror groups fighting the LNA in Benghazi.
The LNA have consistently accused the Islamists and groups in the city of Misrata of supplying the IS/Ansar Sharia/BRSC fighters in Benghazi.
Referring to Faiez Serraj and his GNA, he said that the LNA was sending a message to all who are in the foreign installed government (GNA), adding that in Libya there will be no acceptance of a ‘’Karazi’’ (the Afghanistan leader installed by the international community).
The Zintan based LNA forces carried out a graduation ceremony as a reminder and show of strength as they feel marginalized from the GNA and the anti IS action around Sirte. It is partly to show that the GNA or its supporting militias are far from being in control of the whole of western Libya.
While Hafter’s eastern based forces have been engaged in some action, slowly making their way towards Sirte and fighting IS/BRSC/Ansar Sharia coalition in Benghazi, the Zintan-based forces have been idle bystanders.
Equally, Zintan’s Presidency Council (PC) representative, Mohamed Al-Aswad has been boycotting the PC while the rest of the PC based in the Bu Sitta Naval Base have continued without him. The High State Council, dominated by former members of the GNC and led by Zintan-arch enemy Abdelrahman Swehli have also continued to impose itself while Zintan seems to be side-lined from the new power share-out. [/restrict]