The United Nations Libya envoy said a country supporting commander Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) was likely responsible for a deadly drone attack on a military academy in Tripoli.
After briefing the UN Security Council, a visibly frustrated Ghassan Salame had a message for countries supporting either Haftar’s LNA or the internationally-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA): “Keep out of Libya.”
At least 30 people were killed and dozens wounded in the attack on a military academy in the Libyan capital on Saturday, the GNA health ministry said. Tripoli is controlled by the GNA and has been combating an LNA offensive that began in April.
“Dozens of cadets are killed in a military academy – unarmed, entirely unarmed – by a drone attack probably done by a country supporting the LNA,” Salame told reporters. “Keep your hands out of Libya, the country is suffering too much from foreign interference in different ways.”
Turkey backs the GNA while Haftar receives support from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Jordan. Russian military contractors are deployed with Haftar’s LNA, diplomats and analysts said.
“There are enough weapons in Libya, they don’t need extra weapons, there are enough mercenaries in Libya, so stop sending mercenaries, as is the case right now with hundreds, probably thousands, coming into the country,” Salame said.
Libya lacked stable central rule since leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown in 2011. Salame is trying to mediate an end to the conflict.
“I’m really angry to see everybody wants to talk about Libya and few people want to talk about the Libyans. What happens to the Libyans?,” Salame said.
“Libya is not only an oil story, Libya is not only a gas story, Libya is not only a geopolitical story, it is also a human story and people are suffering,” Salame said. “There is no international clear message that enough is enough.”
The UN Security Council said in a statement after Salame’s briefing it was concerned by recent escalation in fighting and stressed the need for countries to comply with a UN arms embargo on Libya and stop foreign interference.
“The situation is bleak right now … but let me emphasise our determination as the UN to find a way out,” Salame said.