LNA launches campaign against FACT targets in southern Libya following Chadian airstrikes

Aug 22, 2023 | Libyan actors

On 22 August, Libyan National Army (LNA) spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari confirmed Chadian airstrikes on the Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) targets in southern Libya. He said that any incursion by Chadian forces into Libyan territory requires the approval of the LNA commander and stressed that the LNA does not allow FACT to stay in Libya and will not do so in the future. He stressed that the LNA will not allow Libya to become a foothold for armed groups or formations that pose a threat to its neighbours, or a base for illegal operations.

The following day, Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Déby stated that his forces have not yet entered Libya, but that they have the right to do so in order to fight mercenaries of the Chadian opposition. He claimed these mercenaries pose a threat to Chad and are stationed in Libyan territory. On the same day, the FACT commander Mahamat Mahdi Ali accused the Government of National Unity (GNU) of being behind the airstrikes on their bases in Libya. He said that the Dabaiba government had given permission for the attacks. This move, he said, is a serious threat to the stability of the region and warned the attack will elicit a ‘decisive reaction’ from the FACT.

Later on 25 August, Government of National Stability (GNS) Minister of Interior Issam Abu Zuriba declared a State of Emergency over the border area with Niger and Chad. On the same day, the LNA began its offensive in the border area with Chad in the Kalanga Mountains (450 km SW of Kufra in the foothills of Tibesti) with several airstrikes on FACT targets. Some Special Forces of the Tariq Bin Ziyad Brigade were parachuted into the area. At the same time, LNA ground forces started an advance toward the border.

The LNA cleared several houses in the town of Umm al-Aranib in the ‘Chinese Neighborhood’ that were allegedly occupied by family members of FACT fighters. According to other sources, the people evicted from these houses were Tebu. Al-Sennusi Hamed, a Tebu and member of the Constitution Drafting Assembly, has accused the LNA of displacing not families of FACT rebels but Libyan Tebu in Umm al-Aranib.