The Libyan National Army (LNA), commanded by Khalifa Haftar, was on the verge of capturing Sabha after Government National Accord (GNA) forces surprisingly withdrew from the southern city.
A military official told Asharq Al-Awsat that it was “only a matter of time” before the LNA imposes its control over the South.
The operation it is waging is going according to plan, he said on condition of anonymity.
The move would put the LNA one step closer to GNA-held Tripoli.
Commander of the GNA’s sixth infantry unit, Ahmed al-Ataybi, had accused head of the government, Fayez al-Sarraj, of not providing enough support to his forces, prompting their surprise withdrawal.
Moreover, the source predicted that clashes may erupt between extremists and some members of the al-Toubou tribes.
Meanwhile, the LNA denied that it was biased towards any social segment in the South.
Spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said Saturday that claims of bias are aimed at “stoking strife between the people and legitimate authorities.”
His remarks appear to be in response to media and activists’ circulation of videos that show LNA forces using racial slurs against the residents of Sabha and neighboring areas.
The videos sparked the ire of the Toubou tribes, which make up the bulk of the South’s population, especially Sabha.
The tribes denied claims that they were supporting and harboring Chadian opposition groups, but said that they enjoy social and historic bonds with Chad and Niger.