17 October 2016 Monday

The Presidential Guards of Libya’s UN-backed unity government has defected and joined a rival administration.

In a statement on Monday, the Guards said they have joined the salvation government of the Tripoli-based General National Congress.

The statement accused the unity government of siding with “putschists” – in reference to gen. Khalifa Haftar, the commander of forces aligned with another rival government based in Tobruk in eastern Libya.

“The UN-brokered political agreement and unity government was put forth in order to establish a place for Khalifa Haftar and enable him to rule Libya by force,” the statement said.

On Friday, forces loyal to the salvation government took over offices of the unity government in Tripoli after clashes with unity government troops.

The government, which stepped aside in March in favor of the UN-backed cabinet, said it plans to seize all other state facilities in Tripoli, including the central bank and ministries.

Libya has been wracked by turmoil since 2011, when a bloody uprising ended with the ouster and death of longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi.

Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government — one in Tobruk and another in Tripoli — each of which boasts its own military capacity and legislative assembly.

Last year, Libya’s rival governments signed a UN-sponsored agreement that resulted in the formation of a unity government that has largely failed to resolve the conflict.

Source: World Bulletin.

Link: http://www.worldbulletin.net/news/178781/libya-presidential-guards-defect-as-conflict-deepens.