By Ibrahim Drissi.
Benghazi, 28 August 2016:
In two new moves aimed at extending army control over the south of Libya, the military establishment headed by General Khalifa Hafter has created a new, massive, central Libya military zone and has also replaced the elected mayor of Kufra with an army colonel.
The new military zone covers the area from Sultan, 110 kilometres south of Benghazi, to Sadada, 130 kilometres south-east of Misrata, and down to the southern border.
No commander has, as yet, been named for the area.
Meanwhile, Abdul-Razzaq Al-Nazhuri, the House of Representatives’ chief of staff, is reported to have dismissed the mayor of Kufra, Muftah Bukhali, and appointed a Colonel Saleh Al-Zarouq to run the municipality.
It is the third time this month that Nazhuri has dismissed a democratically-elected mayor and replaced him with army officer. Last week, he sacked Salem Jadhran as mayor of Ajdabiya. Ten days before that, he sacked the mayor of Benghazi.
The sacking of Jadhran has not gone quite according to plan, however. Jadhran, an official in Ajdabiya told the Libya Herald today, has refused to go and is still working at the municipal offices in Ajdabiya. However, the man who is supposed to replace him, retired colonel Embarek Al-Manafi, is also meeting with a number of local staff in an effort to take over.
Nazhuri was appointed as military governor “from Tobruk to Ben Jawad” by the HoR president Ageela Saleh. This was taken to mean northern Cyrenaica. However, it is clear from his action against the mayor of Kufra that he is viewed as military governor of all Cyrenaica.