Attorney General orders arrest of Belhaj and Jadhran on charges of endangering state security    – Al Marsad

Libya: An order for the arrest of Abdulhakim Belhaj, the leader of the Watan party as well as of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and owner of Nabaa TV, has been issued by the Attorney General’s Office. The surprise arrest order also includes oil blockader Ibrahim Jadhran as well as Zawia militia leader Shaaban Hadiya (better known as Abu Obaida al-Zawi), and three other Libyans – Hamdan Ahmed Hamdan, Ali al-Huni and Mukhtar Erkhis – plus 31 fighters from Chadian and Sudanese opposition groups operating in Libya.

All are accused of engaging in activities effecting state security. The Chadians and Sudanese are accused of committing crimes and carrying out attacks in Libya, in particular on the eastern oil terminals and at the Tamenhint airbase north east of Sebha, while the Libyans are accused of collaborating with them and funding them.

The arrest warrant, issued on Thursday and passed by Sadiq Assour, the head of investigations at the Attorney General’s office, to the heads of the intelligence services, is part of a number of ongoing criminal investigations. These include the attacks on oilfields and terminals as well as on the Tamenhint base, clashes between a number of Libyan tribes, and kidnappings, murders and other acts of violence in southern Libya carried out by Chadian opposition factions there.

It also follows the recent arrest in Tripoli of one of the top commanders of the Chadian opposition group, CCMSR (the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the [Chadian] Republic).

It has not been disclosed exactly when the arrest took place.

In the case of Jadhran, who blockaded most of the eastern oil terminals from 2013 until his forces were defeated in 2016 by the LNA, costing Libya billions of dollars in lost revenue, this is not the first time the Attorney General’s office has ordered his arrest. A warrant was issued by Assour in May 2017 but never executed. On many occasions, the head of the National Oil Corporation, Mustafa Sanalla, had pressed for his arrest.

Belhaj, who headed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in Afghanistan in alliance with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, and who after the 2011 Revolution became head of Tripoli Military Council, has denied the accusations against him on his Nabaa TVchannel. He said that he doubted that the warrant would be executed in Tripoli.

The LIFG was designated a terrorist organisation by the UN Security Council in 2001.

In October 2013, a Tunisian lawyer accused Belhaj of having links to the Tunisian terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia, and of their joint involvement in the assassination of Tunisian leftist politician Chokri Belaidin February that year.  The lawyer also claimed that Belhaj had helped in the training of Ansar al-Sharia members.Belhaj denied the allegations.

In June 2017, he was put on a list of alleged terrorists linked to Qatar published by Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE and then endorsed by the House of Representatives in Tobruk. The list also included Tripoli-based religious figure Sadiq al-Ghariani as well as Ali Salabi and his brother Ismail, former Tripoli mayor Mahdi al-Harati and the Benghazi Defence Brigades.

Belhaj, who since the revolution has also become a businessman, is widely reported to be financially supported by Qatar.  Like a number of other Libyan Islamists, he is currently based in Turkey.

Founded in July 2018, the CCMSR has used southern Libya as its base for operations against the Chadian government of President Idriss Deby. However, it and other Chadian fighters in Libya have also been accused of carrying out attacks and kidnappings within Libya and have as a result been targeted by forces of the LNA, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar.