Updated January 28, 2019
A delegation from the government of eastern Libya visits Sabha, a key city in the south of the country
- Sabha was nominally under the control of the internationally recognized government in Tripoli, but in reality was run by local groups
- The Eastern government is allied with Khalifa Haftar
BENGHAZI, Libya: A high-level delegation from Libya’s parallel government in the east visited the main southern city of Sabha on Monday after its forces took control of the city this month, said a responsible.
The eastern government is allied with Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army (LNA) launched a campaign this month in southwest Libya. Sabha had been nominally under the control of the internationally recognized government in Tripoli but in reality was ruled by local groups, including tribes.
Control of Sabha is seen as vital to securing the oil fields in southern Libya, one of the declared goals of the ANL campaign.
The ministers of the interior, health and justice of the eastern government, based in Benghazi, were seen meeting with local officials in the municipality of Sabha in photos sent to Reuters by members of the delegation in visit.
There was no immediate comment from Tripoli on the visit, further highlighting the continued lack of authority of the internationally recognized government in much of Libya.
The ANL has secured Sabha Airport and other strategic sites in the region in recent days, after local groups handed them over without a fight.
The ANL says its campaign is aimed at combating militant groups and securing oil facilities in the south, including the El Sharara oil field, Libya’s largest.
LNA forces killed a suspected al-Qaeda fighter called Adel Ahmed Al-Abdaly on Monday when they stormed his home in Sabha, LNA spokesman Ahmed Mismari said. . Otherwise, the city has been largely quiet since the arrival of the ANL.
Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have used southern Libya as a base for attacks in Libya and neighboring countries, exploiting a security vacuum created by the fall of dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a 2011 rebellion backed by the United States. NATO air strikes.