Haftar’s Libyan National Army says it hit Chad rebels in new airstrikes

Forces loyal to Libyan General Khalifa Haftar said that they had carried out airstrikes against Chadian fighters in southern Libya.

Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army said in a statement on Friday, February 8 that it had hit “three groups of Chadians and their allies.”

The “violent and painful” strikes targeted groups near Marzouk in southern Libya, the LNA added, without giving further details.

The LNA on Sunday announced it had carried out an air strike against “Chadian opposition” groups in the same area.

It was not immediately possible to verify if the Chadian groups the LNA targeted have any links to Chadian fighters France said it hit with airstrikes in recent days.

Chadian President Idriss Deby said on Thursday that a column of rebels had been “destroyed” in the series of French strikes after trying to cross into the country from Libya.

An anti-Deby rebel group, the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR), had crossed into northern Chad with “three columns” of vehicles, according to one of its members, Mahamat Doki Warou. The UFR was created in January 2009 from an alliance of eight rebel groups.

The LNA in mid-January announced the start of an offensive intended to “purge the south of terrorists and criminal groups,” including rebels from Chad.

The marginalized region has seen bloody ethnic fighting between Tubu, Tuareg and Arab ethnic groups since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi’s regime in 2011.

Libya remains profoundly divided, principally between an internationally recognized Government of National Accord and a rival administration in eastern Libya supported by Haftar’s LNA.

The U.N.-backed unity government based in Tripoli has struggled to assert its authority outside the west.

Security and stability has also been undermined by myriad militia and jihadists.

With reporting from AFP

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