7 Feb – 13 Feb: al-Werfalli hands himself in while the LNA and AIOR thwart VBIEDs

Feb 13, 2018 | Libyan actors

On 7 February, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, a Commander of the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Saiqa Special Forces in Benghazi who is wanted on charges of war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC), handed himself into the LNA for questioning. When the IC arrest warrant was issued in August 2017, LNA General Commander Khalifa Haftar said that the LNA would arrest Werfalli and investigate the accusations. However, that did not happen and Werfalli has continued to operate with impunity. Following the twin bombings at a Benghazi mosque in late January, Werfalli publically executed several LNA prisoners at the site of the attack.

Following Werfalli handing himself in at the military police headquarters in Benghazi, some members of the Saiqa brigade were arrested by LNA forces due to their role in instigating local riots demanding Werfalli be released. Reports are conflicting whether Werfalli remains in LNA custody or has been released.

On 11 February, the LNA affiliated Anti ISIS Operations Room (AIOR) apprehended a group of extremists allegedly plotting to conduct car bombs attacks in Sabratha against the AIOR. The AIOR said those arrested were affiliated with the Benghazi Defence Brigades and the Anas Dabbashi Brigade, the latter having controlled Sabratha previously.

On 6 February, the LNA said it had arrested an extremist cell allegedly preparing for Vehicle Bourne IED missions against LNA targets in the Oil Crescent.