Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the self-proclaimed army in eastern Libya, the Libyan National Army (LNA), has called on his forces to advance on Tripoli and take it’s control either peacefully or forcefully while declaring war on Tripoli.
Reports from Libya indicate that some troops of Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) were pushed back from a security barrier by a militia in Zawiya, fewer than 30km from the capital.
In an audio recording published on Facebook, Haftar told his forces “to conquer Tripoli by peace and if they were fought by any party, so they should fight back and try to secure the lives of civilians.”
He added that all of the Tripoli state institutions, personal properties and civilians must be protected when they enter Tripoli.
Haftar also said that those who raise the white flag to surrender in Tripoli should not be targeted, and those who are inside their houses should not be targeted as well.
The offensive started as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres visited Libya and expressed fears of new confrontations. Guterres is flying on Friday to eastern Libya to meet Haftar.
Guterres will be also flying to Tobruk, another city in the east and home to Libya’s parliament – also internationally recognised – which backs Haftar.
I am flying from Tripoli to Tobruk and Benghazi. My aim remains the same: avoid a military confrontation. I reiterate that there is no military solution for the Libyan crisis, only a political one.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) April 5, 2019
It put at risk upcoming peace talks brokered by the UN aimed at drawing a roadmap for new elections.