At least four people were killed Friday after clashes erupted between forces loyal to Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar and “Chadian mercenaries” in the southern town of Ghadduwah, according to a local security source, Anadolu Agency has reported.
After Haftar’s forces captured the town, which is located south of the city of Sabha, they came under attack by unknown elements, the source, who insisted on anonymity, told Anadolu Agency.
Four members of Haftar’s 128th Brigade were killed in the fighting, the same source said, adding that warplanes affiliated with Haftar’s forces were patrolling the skies over the region.
The source could not provide further information about the forces that clashed with Haftar’s 128th Brigade, but the Sabha Municipality on its Facebook page described them as “Chadian mercenaries”.
Libya’s UN-backed unity government in Tripoli, for its part, which is administratively responsible for Sabha, has yet to issue a comment about the incident.
Last month, pro-Haftar forces arrived at the Sabha Airbase (known locally as the Tamanhant Airbase) in advance of planned operations along Libya’s borders with Sudan, Chad and Niger.
Libya has remained dogged by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.
Two rival seats of power now vie for supremacy in the North African country: a UN-backed government based in Tripoli and a breakaway government — with which Haftar is affiliated — based in the eastern city of Tobruk.