Western Libyan armed groups join rescue efforts in the east

Sep 14, 2023 | Libyan actors

There have been some significant signs of divisions being overcome as a result of the flooding tragedy in Derna. The arrival of the Tripoli-based 444 Brigade (with about 400 men) in eastern Libya on 14 September and its participation in rescue efforts in Derna alongside the Libyan National Army’s (LNA) Tariq bin Ziyad Brigade (led by Saddam, the son of LNA commander Khalifa Haftar) is a notable development given in 2019 – 2020 the 444 was defending southern Tripoli against an LNA offensive. This narrative of solidarity between opposing armed groups has been circulated widely with pictures of LNA and 444 fighters working together, while Saddam has also had photo shoots with 444 members. Other forces linked to the Government of National Unity’s (GNU) Ministry of Interior have also been deployed to the eastern region, and as of 19 September, a Special Deterrence Force (Rada) relief convoy had arrived in Derna with four heavy trucks.

In addition, on 17 September, the LNA’s Chief of Staff of the Air Force Muhammed al-Manfour announced the unification of the Information and Air Force Control Room under the name of the Libyan Operations Room. This follows years of being divided between East and West.