News ID: 251653
Published: 0312 GMT April 19, 2019

Libya unity government issues arrest warrant for Haftar

Libya unity government issues arrest warrant for Haftar
Khalifa Haftar

Libya's the internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) on Thursday issued an arrest warrant for strongman general, Khalifa Haftar, for allegedly ordering deadly airstrikes against civilian areas.

Six of Haftar's officers were also named in the warrant issued by the military prosecutor general, which was published by the unity government's press office, reported.

This came after fighting broke out on April 4 when Haftar launched an offensive to take Tripoli, the seat of the UN-recognized GNA.

The White House said on Friday that President Donald Trump spoke by phone on Monday to Haftar and discussed “ongoing counterterrorism efforts and the need to achieve peace and stability in Libya,” Reuters reported.

The statement said Trump “recognized Field Marshal Haftar’s significant role in fighting terrorism and securing Libya’s oil resources, and the two discussed a shared vision for Libya’s transition to a stable, democratic political system.”

It was unclear why the White House waited several days to announce the phone call.

On Thursday, both the US and Russia said they could not support a UN Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire in Libya at this time.

Also on Thursday, mortar bombs crashed down on a suburb of Tripoli, almost hitting a clinic, after two weeks of an offensive by Haftar’s eastern troops on the Libyan capital, which is held by the government.

Reporting at least 205 people dead and 913 wounded, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday it was keeping medical and surgical teams deployed at field hospitals near the frontlines.

More than 25,000 people have been displaced by the clashes between GNA forces and Haftar's forces south of Tripoli, including 4,500 over the previous 24 hours, the International Organization for Migration said on Wednesday.


Refugees being evacuated


The UN said Friday it had evacuated 163 refugees from war-ravaged country to neighboring Niger, but more than 3,000 others were still trapped in detention centers affected by clashes.

The move marked the first evacuation of refugees and migrants out of Libya since fighting escalated in Tripoli two weeks ago, the UN refugee agency said, AFP reported.

"Given the situation in Libya, humanitarian evacuations are a lifeline for detained refugees whose lives are in jeopardy in Libya," the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Chief Filippo Grandi said in a statement.

UNHCR issued an urgent appeal to the international community to find solutions for all the trapped and detained refugees in Libya.

Among other things, it said there was a need for evacuations and humanitarian corridors to allow refugees in its GDF in Tripoli to find safety abroad.

It also said new such spaces were needed, since the facility had only limited capacity.


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