Gangsters, thugs, Madkhali extremists, tribal militias and Gaddafi militants have joined together to fight within the ranks of warlord Khalifa Haftar’s armed groups in south Tripoli battlefields.
Lured with millions of dinars, the coalition of gangs call themselves “Libyan National Army”, abbreviated as LNA, despite claims by Haftar and his propaganda outlets that their army is made up of regular soldiers.
In one of the videos posted by the Military Information Division of Khalifa Haftar, two wanted criminals from Wershiffana region boasted about being members of LNA to “liberate Tripoli from the gangs” and “bring order” to the capital.
Ali Al-Hadi Abu Khashim (photo) and his brother are from Nasriya district in Wershiffana, a region in western Tripoli. Both are infamous for abduction, killing and committing ISIS-style beheading. The two and other members of their gang called “Al-Habotat” had disappeared after the takeover of the region by the commander of GNA Western Military Zone led by Osama Juwaili.
Now the gangsters showed up in south Tripoli front lines fighting with Tarhuna’s notorious Kanyat militia led by Mohsan Kani alongside Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled army.
Al-Habotat gang is wanted for dozens of terrorist crimes. In July 2016, the gang members hanged to death 65-year old Saied Shariha from Kabou town in Nafousa Mountain after his poor family could not pay the LYD 800.000 ransom.
In March of the same year, Al-Habotat terrorists beheaded hostage Talal Shaikhi and hanged his decapitated head in a shop. (See photos)
Children were not an exception. In May 2016 Al-Habotat terrorists kidnapped Ehab Al-Maedani, a boy from their district, and demanded an LYD 200,000 dinar ransom. When his family could not pay, they killed him and threw his body on the road.
In a similar terrorist act, Al-Habotat strangled 12-year old boy Abdullah Dagnoush to death after his family failed to collect an LYD 500.000 dinar ransom.
But Al-Habotat terrorists are not the only ones fighting for warlord Khalifa Haftar. A terrorist from Sabratha nicknamed Al-Kubba, who commands Al-Aruba militia, has also joined Haftar’s armed groups in south Tripoli front lines.
He has recently posted a video with his militiamen inside a Tiger armoured vehicle in south Tripoli threatening to torture and kill any captured GNA fighter.
Al-Kubba’s crime record is so horrible. In 2018, he abducted three brothers from Abu-lghith family and tortured them before being boiled to death in a cauldron, in an apparent ISIS-inspired crime.
Video of the three victims of Abu-lghith family after being boiled to death by Al-Kubba
Role of Madkhali extremists
Madkhali extremists are also boasting about being part of Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled army. Radical militia leader Faraj Al-Mehdawi appeared in a video at Tripoli International Airport (screengrab below) threatening a fierce war against what he called “Khawarij in Tripoli”. Al-Mehdawi is from Tocra town in east Libya. His main job was a beekeeper, but now he turned an army commander like many other thugs.
A radical Madkhali armed group from Kufra town, southeastern Libya, known as Subul al-Salam, has also joined the fight with Haftar to “free Tripoli from radicals and militias”. This militia has been accused by the UN Panel of Experts on Libya of involvement in the smuggling of migrants.
War on Tripoli
On April 04, Khalifa Haftar started his offensive on Tripoli to usurp power and topple the UN-recognized Government of National Accord. His militias entered Gharyan and Tarhuna cities without a gunshot after two militia leaders from both cities agreed to join him.
The militias advanced on Tripoli and have taken some areas in the south parts of the capital. But their advance was brought to standstill.
Backed by Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and France, his offensive was met with fierce resistance from government forces under GNA. His armed groups continue to get bogged down in the southern parts of the capital, which according to military experts have become a quagmire for the aspiring dictator.
Militiaman Daab from terrorist to regular soldier
In Gharyan, militiaman Adel Daab, once described by Haftar’s propaganda outlets as a terrorist, handed over his city after several visits to Rajma camp in east Libya where he was promised to get millions in reward, according to military sources.
Daab was a senior commander in Libya Dawn Operation in 2014, the operation that expelled Haftar’s armed formations from Tripoli. Later Daab engaged in arms supply to Benghazi Shura Council to fight Haftar. Now he is regarded as an officer in the so-called Libyan National Army of Haftar.
In Tarhuna, Kanyat militia agreed to allow Haftar’s armed groups to use their city to launch attacks on Tripoli. They also agreed to join the fight and become members of the army, a cover-up tactic by all armed groups of Haftar. Kanyat revealed that they are ready to cooperate with anyone attacking Tripoli, even with “Azrael”, the angel of death in Islamic tradition.
Before the war on Tripoli, Kanyat militia was deemed terrorists and affiliates to Al-Qaida group by the eastern authorities. In 2015, the House of Representatives condemned the killing of Abu Ajila Habshi family members by Kanyat militiamen. It promised to bring the killers to justice, but the promise has become impossible as Kanyat are now “nationalists and faithful soldiers of the army.”
Last March, Kanyat militia murdered Masoud Dawi, a military leader from Wershiffana within their groups, over arms and ammunition distribution. Wershiffana tribe accused Haftar’s forces of being behind his murder and ordered justice for the victim. No comments were made by Haftar’s military command.
There are also other gangs within Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled army like Barg Nasir militia from Zintan and Hirewat gang from Qasir Ben Ghashir.