Libyan air force targets armed Chadian groups in southern Libya

Li Jiayao

TRIPOLI, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The Libyan eastern-based army on Friday said that its fighter jets have launched airstrikes on Chadian armed groups in southern Libya for the second time in less than two weeks.

"As part of the operations to secure the south, air force fighters targeted a site of Chadian gangs linked to al-Qaida southwest of the Harug Mountains, causing human and material losses," the army said in a statement.

"After reconnaissance operations, the air force fighters launched a second raid on a convoy of 11 vehicles moving south of the Harug without prior permission, destroying six of them and damaging two others. The gangs were penetrating Libyan territory and active in smuggling and terrorism," the statement added.

On March 19, the army's air force targeted Chadian armed groups in southern Libya, after the army's deadline for African migrants to leave the south.

On March 9, the army set March 17 deadline for nationals from neighboring African countries to leave southern Libya in order to curb the erupting violence there, warning they would be removed by force.

The city of Sabha, located some 800 km southwest of capital Tripoli, has recently been witnessing violent clashes between rival tribes that killed and injured dozens of civilians and forced hundreds of families to flee their homes.

People from Chad, Niger and Sudan have been accused of involvement in the conflicts in Sabha. Hamed Al-Khiali, head of the municipal council of Sabha, said last month that the local airport was occupied by "an armed group that has nothing to do with Libya," carrying flags of other African countries.

Recently in Tripoli, the UN-backed government announced measures to support its forces in Sabha to fight the so-called "mercenaries."


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