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Libyan militia leader signals split with Haftar

Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar sits during talks with Greek Foreign Minister in Athens, on January 17, 2020 [ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images]
Libya's Khalifa Haftar in Athens, Greece on 17 January 2020 [ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images]

There are signs of a split in Libya between renegade General Khalifa Haftar, who attempted a power grab from the UN-recognised government, and forces supporting him, reports Anadolu Agency.

Ashraf al-Mayar, commander of the unit that supports militias loyal to Haftar, announced his loyalty to Libyan House of Representatives Speaker Aguila Saleh in a video posted on social media.

Stating the House, represented by Saleh, is governing the country, Mayar signaled he is not standing with Haftar.

“It is not acceptable to oppose Aguila Saleh in any way,” he said, adding that opposing him is a “betrayal.”

When Haftar declared Monday he was the ruler of Libya, it was perceived as a move to eliminate Saleh.

Russia forced Haftar to declare truce in Libya: Saleh

Haftar claimed he “accepted the mandate of the Libyan people” and termed the 2015 UN-brokered Skhirat agreement for a unified government “a thing of the past.”

Since the ouster of late ruler Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: Haftar in the east, supported mainly by Egypt and the UAE, and the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, which enjoys the UN and international recognition.

Haftar’s self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) launched a failed offensive to take Tripoli last April, which caused bloodshed and suffering but stalled on the outskirts of the city.

The Libyan National Army (LNA) under renegade General Khalifa Haftar on Friday declared a ceasefire in his conflict with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) during the holy month of Ramadan.

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