A force of the Libyan National Army (LNA) reportedly shut down a conference in the country’s southern region of Fezzan on Monday after the participants called for self-governance in the region.
Hosted by a group of civil society organizations based in the southern region, the conference took place at the Qamar Desert Resort in the municipality of Al-Ghurayfa, near Ubari, about 700 kilometers south of the capital Tripoli.
According to multiple Libyan press reports, LNA initially authorized the event whose declared agenda focused on support for organizing national elections. However, the army decided to shut it down over the participants’ demand for self-governance in Fezzan.
Citing an unnamed source, Libyan news website Bawabat Al-Wasat reported the participants’ demand was intended as a call for political autonomy but not separation from the state.
On the other hand, another Libyan news website, Al-Enwan, reported that a source claimed that the participants’ demand was intended as demand for separation as their statement allegedly included a call for LNA soldiers in the south to defect from the army and form a separate and parallel military force.
Al-Enwan’s source claimed the statement was written in advance and delivered to the participants by Khaled Al-Zaydi, a lawyer for Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi as part of the latter’s effort to establish his own military force.