Alert: LNA issues arrest warrant for Serraj and GNA leadership; airstrike near Zuwara
The LNA military prosecutor has issued an arrest warrant, dated 11 April, for a raft of high profile Tripoli and Misratan political and security figures including PM Fayez al-Serraj and deputy PMs Ahmed Maiteeq, Musa Kuni and Abdussalam Kajman, Misratan militia leaders Abdurrahman al-Swehli and Salah Badi, GNA military commander Usama Juwaili and Grand Mufti Sadiq al-Ghariyani, among many others.
The UN says over 9,500 people have been displaced by the fighting so far and over 50 people killed. Clashes and fighting continue in the south of Tripoli, with some sites changing hands several times. Government of National Accord (GNA)-aligned forces have captured up to 200 Libyan National Army (LNA) fighters since the fighting began last week.
This arrest warrant by the LNA is pure provocation and indicates that the LNA is ramping up its narrative against the GNA and militias in Tripoli. The fact they have included the GNA leadership along with more hardline militia and jihadi leaders, as well as key GNA-aligned militia leaders such as Juwaili, highlights they are using the fact that UN-sanctioned hardliners such as Badi have joined the fight against the LNA to undermine the GNA. It is also likely a tactic to leave the door open to the militia leaders who are NOT mentioned, indicating the LNA would be willing to strike a deal with them. While this arrest warrant can’t be enforced by the LNA at present, it clearly stakes out the LNA’s political position and means that the chances of a negotiated solution to the current crisis, even a temporary ceasefire, looks increasing unlikely as polarisation increases on all sides.
In addition, there are reports of an LNA airstrike today against the Abd al-Samad military camp in southern Zuwara. It is unclear what the impact of the strike was. The Amazigh in Zuwara have so far remained out of the conflict, other than establishing sand barriers on the coastal road between Zuwara and Sabratha to prevent the LNA from moving on the town. However, Zuwara is located near to the LNA’s Watiya airbase and is the gate to the Tunisian border. This may be an attempt by the LNA to extend its supply lines west or ensure that an operation against Watiya cannot be launched from Zuwara. Zuwara port does not appear to have been impacted by the strike, but this move could pull Zuwaran forces into the fight against the LNA, making Zuwara more unstable.