New move in Libya to reverse the pages of a decade of chaos: 120 prisoners fighting in the camp of the country’s mighty Khalifa Haftar and participating in their offensive against Tripoli, released on Wednesday against a backdrop Of national reconciliation carried out.
The detainees were released after a ceremony organized by the authorities in Zavia, a city about 45 km west of Tripoli and whose fighters took part in the defense of the capital in early April 2019.
A member of Brigade 107, loyal to Marshal Hafter, he was captured near Javia by the fighters of that city at the beginning of an unsuccessful invasion to capture Tripoli.
The battle between loyalist armies of the former United Nations government (GNA, recognized by the United Nations and based in Tripoli) and that of the powerful Septuagenarian army ended in the summer of 2020.
After a process led by the United Nations to manage the transition to national elections in December, a cease-fire has been observed since October and a new unified government has been established.
At Wednesday’s ceremony, the sign of this political upsurge was given by long speeches focused on the theme of unity and harmony.
– “Rebuild the country” –
Thus, the Vice-President of the President’s Council, Abdullah Ilafi, called for “moving forward to rebuild the country” and advocated “national reconciliation”. He said, “We should not spread hatred and resentment to our children.”
“Today is where we need each other the most,” said Mousa Al-Kony, another vice-president of the President’s Council.
The three-member presidential council was appointed in February by 75 Libyan officials from all walks of life gathered in Geneva, who also elected a prime minister, wealthy businessman Abdelhamid Dabiba.
Surrounded by important security measures, Wednesday’s ceremony took place at the headquarters of the Xavia Olympic Club at the initiative of the local dialogue group.
Quranic verses were recited before giving the floor to the personalities present, followed by the national anthem.
The prisoner, wearing a long white shirt and a saraule, white cap on his head, was then found waiting for his family under the hood of the spot.
The members of Brigade 10 come from the west of the country, especially from Sorman and Sabratha, which are 60 and ade km from the capital respectively. Some were still minors when they were recruited to fight with pro-Hafta forces.
For the High Council President, Khalid El-Mikri, the release of these detainees represents a “significant” event that marks “a positive turning point in the Libyan crisis”.
These youth were “cheated”, while some were “not yet of age” when they were recruited, he said.
In December 2020 and January 2021, rival camps exchanged several dozen prisoners, facilitated by a joint military commission composed of five members from each camp, according to the ceasefire agreement.
– Merchant –
Libya is trying to extricate itself from a decade of conflict, following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in 2011, an anarchy marked by the existence in recent years of rival powers in Tripolia (West) and Sirenica (East) .
But the current reconciliation is against the presence of thousands of merchants and foreign troops on Libyan soil – estimated at 20,000 in December by the United Nations – while the conflict was largely carried out by outside powers.
During the war between the rival powers in 2019 and 2020, Turkey actively supported the GNA, while the eastern side received the support of the Emirates, Russia and Egypt.
External actors included the Russian private group Wagner, supporters of the Eastern camp, Chadian, Sudanese and Syrian civilians, but Turkish troops concluded with the previous government in Tripoli under a bilateral agreement.
The United Nations and many countries have been calling for the departure of these foreign forces for months.
In a report released on Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recommended “monitoring mechanisms in Libya. Leading and controlling the cease-fire” as well as following a “cessation of hostilities” within the Manul Peace Mission in Libya . .
bur-nd-rb-hme / vl