Libya: Tension between BM, Serraj Escalates

Misrata-based armed forces known as Bunyan Marsous (BM) aligned with the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) have accused the Prime Minister Faiez Serraj of abandoning BM forces after the capture in December of Sirte that was held by the Islamic State.

The BM, known as one of Libya’s most organized forces, drove out the terrorist group from Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown in December after eight months of fierce fighting, which killed hundreds its fighters.

BM commander Col Ali Rafideh grilled Serraj for intentionally refusing to provide logistical support to his forces and for ignoring their salaries claim, as they have not been paid for eight months, Libya Herald reports.

The military commander blamed Serraj for neglecting wounded personnel as well as turning his back to families of deceased soldiers.
The GNA has started reconstruction of Sirte but Ali Rafideh pointed out that security and protection have been poor in the coastal city because the UN-backed government has failed to bring its support. People are reluctant to regain their “old jobs” to participate in reconstruction, Rafideh noted.

The BM has been Serraj’s strongest military ally since he moved to Tripoli in March last year.

Serraj last month seriously threatened to subject any military commander to the court-martial if commanders meet with any foreign government in or outside Libya, without his approval.

The threat came following a visit to Doha by a delegation of BM officers led by operations room commander Brigadier Bashir Al-Gadi. The delegation met with Qatari officials who, according to the visitors, promised to build a field hospital and a water desalination unit in Misrata.

Loss of the BM by the GNA will be a significant setback for the UN-backed Prime Minister who has been isolated and faces growing advance of the so-called Libyan National Army (LNA) of Khalifa Haftar who enjoys support from Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The BM has reportedly refused to yield to the influence of Russia and the UAE, which tried over the past months to convince it to enter into a deal with Haftar.

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