Forces loyal to Putist General Khalifa Haftar prevented Libya’s caretaker Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah from visiting the city of Ghat, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.
Nasr Youssef, who represents Ghat in parliament, told Anadolu Agency that the pro-Haftar militia prevented the visit, citing the lack of “previous coordination”.
The legislature opposed the actions of the militiamen and urged the locals to “take a serious stand to secure the interests of the city.”
He said Dbeibah’s visit was aimed at studying the city’s needs and addressing the challenges facing residents.
Ghat is controlled by Haftar’s forces.
There was no comment on the legislator’s allegations from the Libyan authorities and the visit was not officially announced.
Libya has been troubled for a decade, in recent years a war has broken out between forces supporting rival governments based in the East and West, backed by regional powers, foreign fighters and mercenaries. Russia, France, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been some of the biggest supporters of Putist general Khalifa Haftar, while Turkey supported the internationally recognized National Accord Government (GNA) in the West.
A ceasefire in October last year between rival Eastern and Western governments, following UN host talks, led to a transitional government taking office in March to lead the country towards elections at the end of this year.
However, the warlord Haftar still acts independently of the legitimate government, leads an armed militia that controls large areas and calls himself “the commander-in-chief of the Libyan national army”, which puts him in conflict with the presidency.
In September, Haftar announced that he was interrupting his military activities, a step that could lead to his candidacy in elections later this year.
In a statement, Haftar said he had appointed a temporary replacement as commander of the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA) until December 24, the date of the legislative and presidential vote.
Temporarily raising his chief of staff to the post “seems to be the informal announcement of his intention to run for president,” Libyan analyst Emadeddin Badi said in a tweet.
Also last month, MP Aguila Saleh ratified legislation governing the presidential election that critics say has circumvented a proper process to benefit his ally Haftar.