Libya’s border with Algeria has been closed by forces loyal to Libya’s eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar. The forces issued a statement Sunday after deploying troops to the south underscoring his continued hold in spite of efforts to unify the country.
Last week, Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) deployed troops to the southern city of Sebha, which was already allied to eastern forces, and then on Saturday to a southern border crossing with Algeria.
The nearly 1,000-kilometre border between Algeria and Libya cuts through mostly unpopulated desert and has few crossings.
The Moral Guidance Department, an LNA media unit stated “The armed forces have closed the Libyan-Algerian border and declared it a military zone in which movement is prohibited”
Haftar was relegated last year after the collapse of his 14-month offensive against Tripoli, while a new unity government backed by UN peace process has called his political ambition into question.
Days ago, the Sirte-Jufra operations were aligned to facilitate the reopening of the highway. In spite of the progress towards a political solution for Libya after a decade of violence and chaos, most of the country is still controlled by armed groups, bedevilled by graft while external forces involved in the conflict are yet to withdraw.
Progress is expected on Sunday in implementing the terms of a military ceasefire in place since September. Yesterday, the government reopened the coastal highway linking the country’s east and west, which closed for two years due to fighting. On June 23, foreign powers will convene in Berlin for the Libya talks.