Published: July 10, 2019
Missiles which were found on a Libyan rebel movement, Haftar, were checked and ascertained to of France. The missiles were used by forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar’s offensive against Tripoli UN-backed governement.
THE BIG PICTURE: Haftar’s forces are fighting tooth and nail to control Libya’s capital, Tripoli, and ultimately overthrow Libya’s UN-backed government.
The French missiles which are anti-tank missiles were discovered by Libyan governement forces last month during a raid on a rebel camp in Gheryan, a town in the mountains south of Tripoli.
The New York Times reports that the missiles were sold to France by the United States of America before ending in the ‘wrong hands’ of Libyan rebel.
‘Missiles unusable and damaged’
However, France, although it has acknowledged the missiles were of french origin, they were ‘unusable’.
Reuters reports words of the France Army Ministry saying that the missiles were intended for the “self-protection of a French military unit deployed to carry out intelligence and counter-terrorism operations”.
The Army Ministry added that the anti-tank missiles were ‘”damaged and unusable, the armaments were being temporarily stocked at a depot ahead of their destruction”.
The Army Minister statement reiterates France’s resolve to go on fighting terrorism in Libya.
“France has long supported all established forces engaged in the fight against terrorism, in Libya, in the Tripoli area and in Cyrenaica (the east of the country), as well as more broadly in the Sahel,” the statement said.
“It has never been a question of selling, yielding, loaning or transferring these munitions to anybody in Libya”, Reuters added.
France has denied breaching a UN arms embargo after four of its anti-tank missiles were found on a base loyal to a rogue Libyan general, BBC reported.
It is the first time since 2016 that France has publicly acknowledged it still has special forces deployed in Libya. It is not clear how many troops are deployed, Al Jazeera reports.
It should be noted that France was part of the NATO-led coalition that ousted the then Libyan’s president, Muammar Kadhafi in 2011.
Since then, the Libyan government has been marred by warring factions struggling to control the country. The United Nations stepped in to stop the bloodshed and set a UN-backed governement. But the latter had not been agreed upon by all parties.
Some warring factions in Libya, such as Haftar forces, have been fighting for the removal of this UN-backed governement, thus creating post-Kadhafi chaos in the whole country. source