Libyan UN-backed gov’t calls for security, military coordination against terrorism

TRIPOLI Libya's UN-backed government called for security and military coordination against terrorism and crime in the country, as the eastern-based army continues its anti-terror campaign in the south.

In a statement issued on the eighth anniversary of the uprising that toppled the regime of former leader Muammar Gaddafi, the government stressed the importance of constitutional and legal cooperation to build a democratic civil state.

We believe that all parties have learned the lesson and become aware of the severe consequences of continued division. It is time to resort to reason now that the road toward stability is clear, and everyone has realized that there is no military solution to the crisis, the statement said.

Libya has been suffering political division and escalating violence since the fall of Gaddafi's regime in 2011.

The country is struggling to make a democratic transition, despite signing a UN-sponsored political agreement late in 2015 and appointment of a unity government.

The Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord rejects the use of war against terrorism to achieve political gains, the statement said, stressing the need to end the political crisis in the country by holding constitution-based presidential and legislative elections.

The army, led by Khalifa Haftar, has been carrying out a military campaign against terrorism and crime in the south since mid-January.

The army is allied with the eastern-based government, as the country is politically divided between two governments in the east and the west, both competing for legitimacy.

Separately, Libyan security on Sunday freed 14 Tunisian workers kidnapped by gunmen a few days ago in the western city of Zawiya, some 45 km west of the capital Tripoli.

The security directorate of the city of Zawiya managed to free the Tunisian workers. Communication is underway with the concerned authorities to ensure they return safely to their families, said Zawiya security directorate.

The security directorate confirmed that the workers are in good health, and published images of them on its Facebook page.

The Tunisian Foreign Ministry also confirmed the release of the kidnapped workers and expressed gratitude to the Libyan government for its rescue efforts.

The Tunisian workers were kidnapped on Thursday evening in Zawiya by unidentified gunmen who took them to an unknown location, according to Zawiya security directorate.

The gunmen demanded the release of a Libyan arrested in Tunisia in exchange for the kidnapped workers, according to Tunisian media.