News24

Libya's old army appoints new chief

2011-11-17 22:32

Al-Baida - Commanders who defected from Muammar Gaddafi’s armed forces in the heat of the civil uprising named a new chief on Thursday confronting the new Libyan authorities with a done-deal.

Some 150 officers and sub-officers, gathered in the eastern city of Al-Baida, unanimously approved the nomination of Khalifa Haftar and announced the re-activation of the army, which has yet to be officially reconstituted.

"Participants agreed to choose Major General Khalifa Belgacem Haftar as commander in chief of the national army due to his seniority, experience and capacity to command troops as well as the efforts he made to support the February 17 revolution," said General Fraj Bunseira, head of Al-Baida's military council.

The nomination will be presented for approval to the head of the governing National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdel Jalil, Bunseira told an audience of senior military officers.

The announcement was welcomed by applause and cries of "God is greatest".

Haftar, who comes from the ranks of Benghazi's military academy and trained in the former Soviet Union, defected from the Gaddafi regime in the 1990s after the Libya-Chad conflict and went to live in the United States.

He returned to Libya in March to join the military campaign to unseat Gaddafi.

The members of the old army were keen to take the lead before a formal meeting scheduled for Sunday to discuss the national army.

The officers believe the defence ministry is hostile to them and is ultimately responsible for the delays in reconstituting the armed forces.

Though many officer broke ranks and joined the Nato-backed fighters during the seven-month campaign to dismantle the Gaddafi regime, they are still viewed with suspicion by scores of civilian brigades who took arms against the former strongman.

Comments
  • Rachel - 2011-11-18 00:23

    Gaddafi got rich off the oil from his country but never helped the poor people in his country. He also killed a lot of his own people too. Gaddafi did a lot of good things but he also did a lot of bad things to his people, that's why he was killed. If you don't know what Gaddafi did and why he was hated by his people, this article gives a great explanation on it. http://explainlikeakid.blogspot.com/2011/10/why-gaddafi-was-killed.html

  • morena.pounder - 2011-11-18 08:58

    Rachel, please never talk about things you don't know. I don't support the horrible things that Ghaddafi did but I must tell you that Libyans were better off under his rule than they ever be under your US or NATO puppets that are currently running that country. You must take a look even in 10 years time that Country is going to be worse than Somalia is today.

      Derrick - 2011-11-19 17:26

      "I don't support the things that Gaddafi did but......" You'd rather he was in power than anyone who got help of any kind from America. Another one who thinks that merely hating America is enough to excuse any dictator for all crimes. Those poor Germans and Japanese, 65 years under the imperialist American yoke.

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