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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 August 2018

Libya's Haftar accuses Tripoli of funding Muslim Brotherhood militias

The head of the Libyan National Army previously accused the Tripoli Centeral Bank of funding armed groups

France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) meets with Libya's Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar (R). AFP 
France's Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (L) meets with Libya's Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar (R). AFP 

The Khalifa Haftar-led Libyan National Army has accused the country’s central bank head of funnelling money to extremist groups, the Muslim Brotherhood and a militia leader who blockaded Libya’s largest oil terminals.

The Central Bank of Libya is subject to an international-led investigation into claims it has pushed Libya’s vital oil money into the hands of the militias, including Islamist extremists. It immediately rejected the claims, declaring the accusations to be “slander” and threatened the LNA with prosecution.

LNA spokesman Brigadier-General Ahmed Mismari said Qatar was involved in the funding of oil terminal blockader Ibrahim Jadhran and that CBL governor Sadiq Al-Kebir had helped fund groups with links to Al-Qaeda and Ansar Al-Sharia.

“Saddiq Al-Kebir paid about 11 million dinars (30 Dh million) to Ibrahim Jadhran who managed to then buy fighters with these funds. Jahdran would pay his fighters 30,000 Dinars (80,000 Dh) each to attack the oil ports,” Brig Gen Mismari added.

An alliance of Islamist groups and Jahdran forces briefly took over and blockaded two of Libya’s largest oil export terminals last month, having also done so from 2013-2016 – a move claimed at the time to have caused $1 billion worth of losses to the Libyan economy.

Brig Gen Mismari also said that infamous Libyan militia leader Abdulhakim Belhadj, who previously fought alongside Osama Bin-Laden and now lives in Istanbul, of appropriating vast amounts of wealth from former dictator Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 revolution.

“Abdulhakim Belhadj seized from the inside of Gaddafi's house 50 kilos of gold, €80 million, $75 million and 80 kilograms of Gaddafi's jewellery," claimed the LNA spokesman. Brig Gen Mismari said the accusation was based on an intercepted phone call between Mr Belhdaj and ally Mahdi Al-Herati, a Libyan who set up a Salafist rebel group in Syria.

The LNA spokesman also accused Mr Al-Kabir, the bank governor, of cooperating with Ali Sallabi who is Libya’s leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mr Sallabi continues to remain in and be protected by Qatar, a close relative confirmed to The National. Mr Sallabi is close to Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, the Doha-based prominent Muslim Brotherhood cleric.

It’s been a difficult couple of months for Mr Al Kabir and Libya’s central bank. Some have accused it of funding militias that run riot in the Libyan capital of Tripoli and elsewhere, and brigades supportive of Jihadi groups such as Al-Qaeda and Ansar Al-Sharia.

Last week a deputy prime minister, Fathi Al Majburi, of the UN-backed government resigned amid security concerns. He had called for great scrutiny of Libya’s central bank as Tripoli’s militias attacked his home. The UN-backed president in Tripoli ordered an investigation into the country’s finances and where it was distributed.

The news came as ISIS attacked the eastern town of Aguila near Ajdabiya, some 100 miles west of the LNA stronghold of Benghazi, beheaded a policeman, and hoisted their black flag atop the settlements buildings, before being pushed out. The LNA said they killed 13 Isis militants in the assault to retake Aguila.

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