A Libyan military prosecutor yesterday ordered the arrest of Gen. Khalifa Haftar and three other retired commanders. According to a statement by the military chief prosecutor's office, Haftar and three retired commanders were accused of commanding a Russian group that carried out kidnappings and murders on Sept. 24.
Haftar's forces launched a campaign in April to capture Tripoli from Libya's internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA). Clashes between the two sides since then have left more than 1,000 people dead and around 5,500 wounded, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Fayez Sarraj, the head of the GNA, attacked foreign powers for backing Haftar, the leader of the Benghazi-based Libyan National Army (LNA), whom he described as a "war criminal." He also derided Haftar and his supporters as "coup plotters" and blamed them for Libya's continued instability.
Haftar, a former officer of Moammar Gadhafi's regime who has been trying to destroy the Tripoli-based GNA for months, enjoys varying levels of support from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and France. The Libyan conflict has drawn in a range of regional and international actors, all of whom are competing for influence. Since the country has become the power projection stage for several regional and international actors, there has been a heated exchange of accusations between different actors for some time. Egypt, which has been acting like a mouthpiece for the UAE, accused other countries of financing militias. Qatar, on the other hand, claimed that the UAE-backed forces in Libya were committing war crimes.