8-14 Nov: GNA Alliance Defeat LNA-Aligned Force in Warshefana

Nov 14, 2017 | Libyan actors

On 10 November, the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) military campaign – dubbed ‘Tidings of Security’ – against the Libyan National Army (LNA)-affiliated 4th Brigade in Wershefana, south west of Tripoli, concluded ‘successfully’. The 4th Brigade disintegrated and their leader, Omar Tantoush, fled. On 7 November, forces under GNA appointed commander of the western region military zone, Usama al-Juwaili, took control of al-Aziziya, in the Warshafana district. Juwaili had support from Haithem Tajouri’s Tripoli Revolutionary Brigade, the Zintan Military Council, and the Kani militias from Tarhouna among others. Within days, Juwaili’s forces managed to install new security patrols on the main streets in al-Aziziya. This led to the collapse of the 4th Brigade as well as other armed gangs and militias who operated in collusion with them. The fighting displaced about 480 families, although as many as 100 have returned to their homes. On 11 November, 28 bodies in Wershefana were discovered with bullet wounds and torture marks. The bodies were found near a road in the town of al-Hira, 60 km southwest of the capital. Reportedly fighters opposed to the GNA faction that took control of the area last week. According to local informants, al-Kani militias’ notorious execution squads undertook the massacre. On 10 November, Faraj Gaem, the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) deputy minister of interior (MoI) in Benghazi, survived an assassination attempt after four mortar rounds were fired at the interior ministry building in the Budzira district of Benghazi. Three people were reportedly killed in the attack, and several injured. This follows another attempt on Gaem’s life on 5 November when a car bomb exploded as Gaem’s vehicle passed by in the Sidi Khalifa district injuring seven. In an audio recording broadcast on 10 November, Gaem accused the LNA of being responsible for the attacks on his life. He demanded Haftar strip himself of power and hand over leadership of the LNA to Wanis Abu Khamada, who is the current commander of the LNA’s Saiqa Special Forces. On 11 November, LNA fighters stormed the interior ministry and chased Gaem’s forces to the nearby town of Bersis. An officer in the LNA’s 106 Brigade, Lieutenant Mutaz Madi is said to have been killed in fighting at Bersis and two other LNA fighters were injured. The LNA reportedly arrested Gaem. Eastern Military Governor Abdelrazeq al-Nadhouri ordered a full ban on any GNA officials in eastern Libya and banned any formal interaction or direct transactions between local municipalities and the GNA. GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Serraj condemned the shelling and called for an immediate ceasefire in Benghazi.