27 February – 5 March: LNA claim to have peacefully entered Qatrun and Ghat

Mar 5, 2019 | Libyan actors

On 3 March, the Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed that it had entered the town of Qatrun peacefully and was welcomed by locals. In a statement coinciding with the claim, the group said its aim was to “cleanse the south from the grip of terrorist groups and criminal gangs arriving from all regions south of Libya.”

This follows a number of claimed territorial gains last week. On 27 February, LNA spokesperson Ahmed al-Mismari announced that the LNA had peacefully entered the western and southern areas of Taraghin. On 28 February, the High Social Council of the Libyan Tuareg announced that the LNA had peacefully entered Ghat and al-Awenat. The LNA forces currently in the area are the 106, 128 and 155 Battalions. On 1 March, the LNA officially confirmed its control over Umm al-Aranib.

On 1 March, it was reported that the LNA’s 205 and 116 Battalions, belonging to the 6th Brigade, had started security operation patrolling the Libya-Algeria border. On 3 March, Chad announced the closure of its border with Libya, deeming any one crossing the border from Libya as ‘terrorists’.

On 4 March, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) officially lifted force majeure on Sharara oilfield after it said the armed militia who had blockaded the field had been removed. According to the NOC, its subsidiary Akakus, which operates the field, had received assurances from the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Petroleum Facilities Guards commander, Brigadier General al-Rifi Kennah Ahmed Ali, that all the individuals listed by the Attorney General (26 members of the Fezzan Anger Movement) for arrest have been expelled from the field and would not be allowed to re-enter. The NOC’s own inspection team had verified this, enabling staff to return to work.