Africa

Libya demands explanation after French missiles found

France asked to explain as to how its missiles reached forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, Libya’s Foreign Ministry says

Walid Abdullah   | 12.07.2019
Libya demands explanation after French missiles found

TRIPOLI

Libya’s UN-recognized government on Friday called for answers after Paris admitted the presence of missiles in the Libyan territory, which were found at a base used by commander of rival forces Khalifa Haftar.  

Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Siala has asked his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian to explain as to when and in what quantity the arms were sent to Libya and how they reached Haftar forces, according to Libya’s Foreign Ministry.

According to media reports on Wednesday, the forces of Libya’s UN-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) based in capital Tripoli had seized four French missiles when it overran a camp of Haftar forces in northwestern city of Garyan in June.

Responding to the reports, the French Defense Ministry said the anti-tank Javelin missiles were intended for the “self-protection” of French forces deployed for counterterrorism, confirming the presence of French forces on Libyan territory.

However, the ministry denied providing missiles to forces loyal to Haftar.

Libya has remained beset by turmoil since 2011 when a bloody NATO-backed uprising led to the ouster and death of long-serving President Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.

Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of power -- one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli -- and a host of heavily armed militia groups.

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