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Unity government in Libya blasts formation of rival National Guard

February 13, 2017 at 3:21 pm

Libya’s UN-backed unity government yesterday condemned the creation of a “National Guard” by armed groups to rival its own presidential guard in the capital Tripoli. The Government of National Accord stated that the creation of the “Libyan National Guard” was “an attempt to form a parallel body.”

Describing the groups and those supporting them as outlaws, the GNA said that they will be treated as such by the security and judiciary bodies. “The formation of a rival guard will lead the capital into bloody armed conflict,” it warned.

Read: EU attempting to convince Libya’s Haftar to stay out of politics

Last week, armed groups, mainly from the western city of Misrata, announced the formation of the new group to fight against Daesh and secure state institutions and diplomatic missions. However it has not been made clear if it will support the GNA which has struggled to gain its legitimacy since taking office in the capital last year. Those involved in the new formation include the backers of Khalifa Al-Ghweil, the leader of a self-proclaimed “Government of National Salvation” which refuses to recognise the GNA.

According to a GNA source, most of the groups involved in the “Libyan National Guard” participated in a seven-month battle against Daesh in Sirte last year. The US expressed its “concern” on Friday about “reports that numerous tactical vehicles from an organisation claiming to be the ‘Libyan National Guard’” had entered Tripoli.

Libya has been undergoing numerous crises since Muammar Gaddafi was ousted in 2011, with rival militias and administrations fighting for control of the oil-rich country.