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Sunday, 20 June 2021

Libya's GNA condemns, apologises for abuse of Egyptian workers

Sama Osama , Tuesday 16 Jun 2020
Spokesman of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Ahmed Al-Mesmary

The army of Libya's Government of National Accord (GNA) denounced in an official statement on Monday “the dreadful acts that attempt to propagate hostility and hatred between the Libyan and Egyptian peoples,” after the kidnapping and abuse of Egyptian workers in Libya.

The GNA said the “criminal group” depicted in the video abusing Egyptian workers were claiming to be part of the “Volcano of Rage” men in Misrata, and that they only aim to distort the image of the GNA and the cities of the Libyan revolution.

The GNA assured in its statement that the Volcano of Rage men will arrest those responsible for the incident.

The army stressed that the newspaper responsible for circulating the video is “dubious” and serves foreign agendas aiming at harming the Libyan people.

A video that has been recently circulated showed militias loyal to the GNA arresting and assaulting Egyptian workers in Libya.

The video caused outrage in Egypt, which prompted Egypt’s Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal and immigration minister Nabila Makram to promise that the country will take a stand at the right time against the incident.

Libya has been divided between two rival factions: an internationally recognised government based in the capital Tripoli and the Libyan National Army (LNA) of eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar. Egypt has been a prominent backer of Haftar in recent years.

Earlier this month, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi announced a peace initiative to end the civil war in Libya that includes a cease and was endorsed by Haftar.

Meanwhile, spokesman of the LNA Ahmed Al-Mesmary apologised to the Egyptian people over the kidnapping and abuse of Egyptian workers in Libya, stressing that the perpetrators are militias supported by the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The LNA spokesman said in a phone call on Monday with Sada Al-Balad TV Channel that the LNA was able to identify and locate the perpetrators.

According to Al-Mesmary, the video was shot at the headquarters of Al-Hazm militia in Misrata, calling the militia “a very dangerous terrorist organisation.”

Al-Mesmary said the Egyptians in the video are innocent workers with no ties to the Libyan domestic affairs, arguing that they are “paying the price for the Egyptian stance towards the crisis in Libya.”

According to Al-Mesmary, the incident depicted in the video resembles “hundreds of documented crimes” occurring in Libya that are being committed against both Libyan nationals and foreigners by militias supported by Erdoğan.

“We apologise to the Egyptian people and the Egyptian leadership for such awful acts that are not representative of Libyans or Libyan morals but of the militias supported by Erdogan,” Al-Mesmary said.

The LNA spokesman said the army are not sure about the exact number of the kidnapped Egyptians, but that according to the video they number between 19 and 22.

“All the militia loyal to Erdoğan consider any libyan in East Libya and any Egyptian an enemy . . . they always threaten the LNA, the Egyptian army and Egypt,” Al-Mesmary added.

In a statement on Sunday, the GNA interior ministry denounced the incident, calling it a “criminal act”.

The GNA said it is looking into the authenticity of the video and investigating the loyalty of the militia in it, promising that after the investigation, the perpetrators will be brought to justice.


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