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Libya: Is Haftar losing control of his forces in Benghazi?

By Sarah Vernhes
Posted on Tuesday, 6 April 2021 15:45

Khalifa Haftar in a video released on 28 April 2020. LNA War Information Division/AFP

The explosion of violence in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi marks Khalifa Haftar's loss of control over the Libyan National Army (LNA). Made up of tribal alliances and militias, the LNA is falling apart while its boss continues to lose power.

Atrocities, assassinations, kidnappings… Benghazi, the capital of Cyrenaica, has been plagued by an upsurge in violence since mid-March.

On 18 March, 12 bullet-riddled bodies were found in the city. Six days later, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a senior commander in Khalifa Haftar’s LNA, was murdered in his car alongside his cousin. On 25 March, Hanine al-Abdali – daughter of Hanane al-Barassi, the lawyer and women’s rights activist who was murdered on a street in Benghazi in November – was kidnapped.

Barassi had been accused by Colonel Ali Madi, head of the Benghazi military prosecutor’s office linked to the LNA, of being involved in the murder of Werfalli alongside Mohamed Abdeljalil Saad.

The crumbling of the LNA