By Libya Herald reporter.
Benghazi, 1 September 2017:
Libyan National Army (LNA) leader Khalifa Hafter has ordered all security forces areas under his control to ignore any orders from the new deputy interior minister in the Presidency Council’s government of national accord (GNA), Faraj Al-Gaem, who is currently in Benghazi.
In a statement today, he said that the GNA was interfering in the national security of areas that had been “liberated”, and that it wanted to cause division within the LNA. He accused the Muslim Brotherhood of being behind this. It would not be allowed, he said.
Gaem was not mentioned by name in the statement but it was clearly made with him in mind.
Gaem’s appointment was formally announced by the PC yesterday but had been widely rumoured for days.
A member of the Awagir tribe, the dominant tribe in the Benghazi area, Gaem was a major militia leader there during and after the revolution. He joined with Hafter when the Dignity operation was launched against militants in the city but broke with him and the rest of the LNA leadership not long after Colonel Mohamed Hejazi claimed that Hafter and his family were involved in corruption and other crimes.
In what appears to be a deliberate challenge to Hafter, Gaem flew from Tunis into Benghazi on Monday. At Benina airport, armed members of the tribe, who had forced their way in, provided ad hoc protection to prevent any attack on him.
His presence in the city has sparked fears of possible clashes between the Awagir and non-Awagir members of the LNA.
There are reports that with the appointment the Awagir tribal leadership has swung behind the PC , but they are contested. However, Gaem’s new position and his presence in the city are seen as representing a serious threat to Hafter’s control.
A further statement from LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari on the situation has been promised.