A battle raged through the area of al-Keesh in Benghazi on Monday night, between two armed groups who are under the leadership of the retired General Khalifa Haftar, both groups are part of the Libyan Army, one of the groups is the First Infantry Brigade, and the other is the Criminal Investigation Department.
According to a witness, the fighting broke out because one of the soldiers that was a part of the First Infantry Brigade was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department, this led the First Infantry Brigade to try and retrieve their colleague by force.
A third party got involved to try and stop the fight, Battalion 204 of Tanks tried to intervene, they are also under the leadership of Haftar. The fighting consisted of mainly heavy weapons and the battle could be heard around the area. The Libyan army is supposed to be there in order to combat terrorism; instead they are now fighting each other.
Hassoona Tatanaki, a Libyan businessman spoke to al-Hayah newspaper on this issue. He said that the main problem in the Libyan Army is the fact that they lack discipline and leadership. They have no qualified military council which should lead the multiple departments and brigades in the army; the Libyan army lacks this, and this could be the reason why its state is getting worse. He also said that each brigade makes their own decisions, they don’t all collectively make a decision on attacks. Tatanaki said this is the reason why they are fighting each other over small things, thus people are fleeing the city.
The Head of the Crisis Committee in Libya, which is also under the leadership of Haftar said that these battles are causing many problems in Benghazi, one of which is: approximately 500 divorces have taken place in Benghazi over the last two months; people are fleeing to other cities with nothing, this causes family feuds and ultimately leads to divorce. There are also many psychological impacts; the number of people with mental health issues has increased as well. To make matters worse a number of diseases and epidemics have also begun to spread around Benghazi.
For more than a year Benghazi has been stuck in a state of continuous battles, each side blames the other and there is no progress. The main problem in Benghazi is that the Libyan army under the leadership of the retired general Khalifa Haftar has accomplished nothing since it started.