Nearly a hundred militiamen from both rival governments died in the bloodiest combat of the year in Libya, fought on the strategic coastal road in the center of the country despite the “humanitarian truce” accepted last Sunday by the contenders at the request of the UN to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The fighting broke out shortly after dawn when fighter jets under the command of Marshal Jalifa Hafter, an unrecognized government guardian in the east and a strong man in Libya, attacked a military convoy akin to the UN-held Executive in Tripoli (GNA) when he was apparently leaving the city-state of Misrata for the battlefront.
Security sources from the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA), the force related to Hafter, explained that the air units launched a total of three “coordinated and precise” attacks against the alleged war column because they considered that it “was directed at Al Heisha and the Zamzam valley to attack us. “
The bombing took place in the vicinity of Abu Qurain, a strategically abandoned village located on the great highway that runs along the entire Libyan coast and which is located halfway between the city of Sirte and Misrata, the main and almost only local ally of the GNA, he claimed.
MORE THAN FIFTY DEAD
Security officials of the aforementioned government in Tripoli assured that 31 of their militiamen died in the bombing and more than seventy suffered wounds of various kinds.
“The fighting began in response to repeated attacks by Haftar forces and their disrespect for all international conventions. Our forces responded and destroyed two Emirati armor, five military vehicles, and an ammunition depot of enemy forces, which they withdrew, “he said.
“We have information that confirms that a total of 60 bodies of Hafter’s soldiers have been transferred to the Ibn Sina hospital in the Sirte region,” added the source, a figure that has not been confirmed or denied to date by the LNA, that usually does not inform neither of the own losses nor those of the enemy.
The GNA also denounced several aerial attacks by rival forces in areas of the southern belt of Tripoli, an area of high strategic value crucial for the conquest of the capital.
And I assure you that Hafter’s forces that fought in the post-bombing battle in the town of Kadahiya and others in the western suburbs of Sirte included “Janjaweed” mercenaries, a Sudanese Arab militia linked to former President Omar Hasan al Bachir at the who is accused of war crimes in the Sudanese region of Darfur.
A WAR OF MERCENARIES
The civil war that has bloody Libya since the failed peace process imposed by the UN in 2015, intensified on April 4, the date on which Hafter ordered the siege of the capital with the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on an official visit to the city, in a clear message to the international community.
Since then, it has turned into a privatized mercenary war, in which around 1,700 people have died – more than 300 civilians -, 15,000 more have been injured and more than 130,000 citizens have been forced to leave their homes and become in internally displaced persons.
The marshal, who controls most of the oil reserves in Libya and almost the entire national territory, has the economic and military backing of Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates – countries that provide him with mercenaries, weapons and superiority. aerial- and with the political endorsement of France and the United States.
The GNA receives economic and military aid from Qatar, Turkey and Italy, in addition to the powerful city-state of Misrata, and it barely dominates the capital and some western populations with the complicity of Salafist militias and different warlords.