Libya gets 'Presidential Guard'

Tripoli - Libya's government of national unity on Tuesday announced the creation of a new military force to protect government buildings, border posts, vital installations and VIPs, a statement said.

It was the first move by the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) to reorganise armed forces in the North African country that has been mired in chaos since the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.

The GNA announced on its Facebook page that the "Presidential Guard" will be Tripoli-based but will include members of the police and army "selected in different regions" of Libya.

It will ensure security at "presidential complexes... and public buildings", as well as providing close protection for members of the government and "notable guests" of the country.

Manpower figures were not given, but the new force's tasks will include protecting "sensitive sites including maritime, air and land borders, the sources and supply of water and electricity power plants".

After Gaddafi was overthrown and killed nearly five years ago, dozens of heavily armed militias in the capital and in cities across western Libya held onto weaponry they had used to battle the dictator's forces.

In the east, controversial General Khalifa Haftar, self-proclaimed commander-in-chief, controls the "Libyan Arab armed forces" who include former regular soldiers and disparate armed factions.

The presidential council has no authority over Haftar's forces who remain loyal to a parallel government backed by the internationally recognised parliament now based in the east.

Formed under a UN-backed power-sharing deal agreed by some Libyan lawmakers in December, the GNA has been working to assert its authority but has yet to receive the official endorsement of the recognised parliament.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 716 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
83% - 8448 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
10% - 1008 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.