General Haftar's LNA has been accused of committing war crimes against members of the ethnic Tubu Tribe in the town of Murzuq, southern Libya.
General Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National National Army (LNA) continues to expand its reach in southern Syria, gaining ground against a number of tribal and militant factions, as well as forces loosely affiliated with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA). The LNA took control of the town of Murzuq last week. However, the LNA has been accused of numerous war crimes against the ethnic Tubu Tribe.
Activists claim that the main hospital of Murzuq received numerous bodies on Friday, all belonging to the members of the Tubu Tribe and all showing signs of shooting and stabbing. According to the parliamentary representative of Murzuq, the killings of the tribemembers were ordered directly by General Abdel Salam al-Hassi, the head of the Karama Operations Room and the right-hand man of General Haftar. 90 homes belonging to the Tubu were also allegedly torched by the LNA.
This would not be the first time Haftar has targeted the Tubu, verbally or militarily. He has often accused the Tubu of aiding and abetting Chadian and Libyan insurgents who are fighting against both the LNA and the Chadian Government. Indeed, in this instance, the LNA claimed that the homes burnt were being used as safehouses by the insurgents.
The Tubu have denied these allegations, claiming that the LNA and its local allies are targeting them to settle tribal scores. They further alleged that many of the fighters in the LNA committing these crimes used to be part of the Libyan Armed Forces under the regime of Colonel Qaddafi and called on the United Nations to investigate them. The UN Special Envoy to Libya, Ghassan Salame, met with Tubu leaders to discuss the situation and promised to bring the matter to the UN Security Council. Indeed, the UN had already raised concerns about the humanitarian situation in southern Libya.
This would not be the first time the LNA has been accused of war crimes. Although the group has been keen to display its credentials as a force fighting extremist groups in Derna and Benghazi, its members have often been involved in bloody retaliatory attacks, as well as intimidation against Haftar’s critics. Among the most infamous such cases was that of Major Mahmoud al-Werfalli who was indicted by the International Criminal Court for executing a number of opponents of Haftar in front of cameras.