Retired general and commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar has admitted to sending Tunisian Daesh members back to their home country.
Speaking during an interview with Tunisian TV presenter and France 24 host Tawfiq Mejaid, Haftar’s statement astonished activists, as well as his host.
UK-based Libyan researcher and chairman of the Quilliam Foundation, Noman Benotman, posted a video of the interview on his Twitter account. Benotman wrote:
“I was attending a workshop last week with some European security and counter-terrorism specialists. I shared this video, in which this delinquent [Haftar] admits sending Tunisian [Daesh] members back to Tunisia after arresting them, as my own contribution and they were so surprised that some of them translated the clip several times.”
كنت في ورشة عمل الأسبوع الماضي مع بعض المختصين الأمنيين الأوربيين في مكافحة الأرهاب ، فعرضت عليهم من ضمن مشاركتي هذا المقطع لولد الحرام #المتمرد يعترف بانه أرسل إرهابيي #داعش التوانسة إلى #تونس بعد القبض عليهم!!
اصابتهم الدهشة و اغلبهم أعاد الترجمة عدة مرات من الدهشة pic.twitter.com/xzQFj02pPL
— noman benotman (@nbenotman) May 9, 2019
Regional and international supporters of Haftar frequently claim the general’s actions aim to “fight terrorism”, a claim Haftar himself reiterates.
After targeting a training camp in the southwestern city of Sabha a week ago, the Presidential Council of the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord held Haftar responsible for the re-emergence of Daesh in the country. The Libyan government had previously managed to eliminate the terrorist group after hunting down its remnants and sleeper cells.
The Presidential Council said in a statement that “immediately after [Haftar’s] attack waged on [Libyan capital] Tripoli, we warned that the parties to benefit from this aggression are terrorist organizations. We said at that time that what is happening will create a fertile ground for these organizations to resume their activities”.
“Haftar and his forces caused chaos in the south, after claiming that his war there was meant to eliminate terrorism,” the statement added, before warning the international community that turning a blind eye to Haftar’s actions will contribute to a resurgence of these groups in Libya.