Marshal Khalifa Haftar, whose forces hold eastern Libya and seek to take Tripoli, has issued an arrest warrant against Prime Minister Fayez al Serraj, announced Monday the UN envoy Ghassan Salamé, speaking of a coup attempt.
The Libyan National Army (LNA), which he commanded, launched an offensive in the direction of the capital just two weeks ago, which it was planning to take in two days, but the forces loyal to the government of national unity Serraj, whose legitimacy has been internationally recognized, managed to contain the offensive with the help of Western militia.
Former cacique of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi fell out of favor, Haftar says he wants to end the chaos that reigns since the overthrow of the “guide” in 2011 and eradicate jihadist movements.
For Ghassan Salamé, who spoke at the BBC microphone, his arrest warrants against Serraj and several members of his government “look more like a coup d’état than an act of counter-terrorism “.
The United Arab Emirates, Egypt and France, who see it as the best way to restore order in Libya, would be reluctant to demand that he retain his troops, they say in diplomatic circles.
Civilian infrastructure and residential areas were bombed by air, particularly in southern Tripoli, where the ANL tried unsuccessfully to break down government defenses.
CONCERN FOR CIVILIANS
“We are in fact in a military stalemate for eight or nine days,” continued Ghassan Salamé, adding that both sides had conducted about thirty air raids that have not changed the balance of power.
“The bombings of schools, hospitals, ambulances and civilian areas are strictly prohibited”, also recalled the mission of the UN in Libya (Manul), which intends to seize the Security Council.
“We are concerned about the growing number of civilian casualties and the damage to vital infrastructure,” said David Satterfield, US Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East.
A school was hit Saturday by an airstrike by Haftar forces and two missiles fell on Sunday at a warehouse of the Ministry of Education, where 3.1 million schoolbooks were destroyed, according to the government.
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 18,000 people have been displaced, including 2,500 in the last 24 hours. The World Health Organization reports 150 dead, mostly combatants, and 600 wounded since the beginning of the Battle of Tripoli.