A Libyan military spokesman declined to address reports that key coalition military commander Khalifa Haftar was in Paris for medical treatment.
Ahmed al-Mismari, spokesman for the Libyan National Army (LNA) Haftar leads, gave a press statement in Benghazi on Wednesday, after more than 24 hours of conflicting rumours and reports about Haftar’s health and whereabouts.
a high-ranking East Libyan military source told Reuters Haftar was flown to Jordan and would travel from there to a third country for treatment for a critical health condition.
A second source close the East Libyan military command said Haftar was in France, but gave no details on his condition. Both sources asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
Libya’s 218 TV channel, supportive of the LNA, reported Haftar “was undergoing a medical inspection in Paris and there was no real danger to his health”.
Several French media also reported Haftar was being treated at a Paris hospital.
Mismari spoke about the military situation in Derna, which the LNA encircled and took no questions.
He made a general comment about “lies and rumours” he said were spread by the Muslim Brotherhood and aimed at undermining the LNA. It was not clear if the comment was a reference to reports about Haftar’s health.
Haftar (75) has for several years been the dominant figure in Eastern Libya and is widely seen as seeking national power in the oil-rich nation of six million.
He presents himself as a scourge of Islamist militancy, taking a hard-line stance against the Muslim Brotherhood, mirroring the position of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a Haftar ally.
Critics accuse Haftar of fuelling armed conflict in Libya.
Haftar is aligned with a parliament and government that moved to Eastern Libya after a major escalation of fighting in Tripoli in 2014.
He spurned the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA), which arrived in Tripoli in 2016 as part of United Nations-led efforts to reunify the country.