25 Apr – 1 May: Haftar returns to Libya dismissing reports of his ill health

May 1, 2018 | Libyan actors

On 26 April, Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar landed at Benghazi’s Benina Airport from Cairo, where he was welcomed with great fanfare by senior LNA commanders as well as political and tribal leaders from Eastern Libya. He looked in good health and had reportedly come from meetings with his allies in Egypt. Haftar gave a short, televised speech upon arrival at his headquarters, dismissing the reports of his ill health and any criticisms of how the LNA had handled the situation. Haftar criticized his enemies and those who had played on rumours of his death or incapacitation, saying the incident exposed the extent of the lies peddled by these groups. However, he gave no details or explanations for his absence or lack of communication during his 17 days of absence. He praised the LNA’s resilience and stressed that the army remains the saviour for the country.

On 27 April, following Haftar’s return to Benghazi the previous day, the Awlad Suliman Tribal Council in Sebha issued a statement welcoming Haftar’s return and declaring loyalty and readiness to support him. This follows a statement on 9 April, the Awlad Suliman’s 6th Brigade issued a statement declaring its allegiance to the LNA.

On 25 April, a delegation from the city of Zintan paid a return visit to Misrata, where delegates from both cities signed a reconciliation agreement. This cemented a rapprochement process between the two cities set in motion last month when a Misratan delegation visited Zintan. The agreement included an article rejecting any military ‘coups’ against the UN-led political process and a commitment to the aims and goals of the ‘17th February revolution’.