Cairo- In a surprise and controversial development, the Libyan National Army (LNA) hinted on Thursday that it will soon liberate the capital Tripoli which has been under the control of armed militias for the past two years.
General Khalifa Haftar, who heads the LNA, issued instructions to the armed forces to mobilize for the liberation of the capital, which he said has become chaotic.
Ahmed al-Mismari, a spokesman for Haftar’s LNA, which is allied with Libya’s parliament, told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that “the army is not threatening.”
“It is advancing,” he said, without giving further details.
“It is the duty of the LNA leadership to preserve the dignity of the Libyan citizen. What’s happening in the capital Tripoli is a violation of human rights and a desecration of the citizen’s dignity,” said the spokesman.
“The rape of a Libyan woman at a prison run by the armed militias in Tripoli is a clear indication of the brutality of these militias,” al-Mismari told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The armed groups “should only be deterred by the LNA,” he said.
The spokesman quoted Haftar as saying that all officers and soldiers should get ready to liberate Tripoli.
Haftar has pledged to take matters into his own hands with regard to the rape case, added al-Mismari.
Meanwhile, a Belgian national has been arrested by police investigating international money laundering and arms trafficking to Libya in violation of a U.N. embargo, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
The suspect was detained in police raids Wednesday in Brussels that netted three other people who were later released, the prosecutor’s office said.
A judge ordered the Belgian held on charges of breaching arms legislation, participating in a criminal organization, violating the U.N. arms embargo and possessing false papers, it said.
“The arms would have been imported and/or exported by means of falsified documents,” it said.
Computer and other material seized in the house raids are being examined by the authorities.