By Moutaz Ali,
Tripoli, 8 October 2016:
Officers controlling forces in the south of the country have backed a new commander in an apparent snub to armed forces commander-in-chief Khalifa Hafter, who was not consulted.
However, in naming General Suliman Kanah as the southern commander, the officers meeting at Brak Al-Shatti near Sebha, stressed that their men were under the control of the army. Meanwhile they said that they had also agreed to set up a southern operations room with smaller satellites. All army personnel were ordered to report to their units.
Somewhat contradicting their assertion that Hafter was in ultimate command of the southern troops, the officers also said in a statement that they saw their main mission as staying out of “political polarisation”. Their key concern they said was to control and protect the south of the country.
There has as yet been no reaction from Hafter’s headquarters in Marj. He has likewise so far failed to comment on this week’s declaration by Warshefana forces that they are no longer following his orders. The defection of what is a key army unit in the west followed Hafter’s replacement of local commander Omar Tantoush, a Warshefani, with Emad Trabilisi from Zintan.