(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
Special Representative of the Secretary General Martin Kobler in a meeting in Paris on Tuesday urged Libya’s rival factions to unite alongside the Government of National Accord (GNA) in the battle against ISIS and stop fighting each other.
“The fight against ISIS, which is the number one enemy, must be a Libyan fight and a united fight,” Martin Kobler said on Tuesday after a diplomatic meeting with French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.
Kobler stressed that only a joint army could provide “a sound effective structure for the fight against ISIS. Libyans should not fight amongst each other. They should fight united against the terrorism in this country.”
The French Foreign Minister also called on rival administrations to patch up their differences and “unite their efforts” into a single national army that “must be put in place.”
Additionally, Kobler said in an interview published by the French Journal du Dimanche on Sunday that ISIS benefits from the chaos in Libya and the lack of implementation of the Government of National Accord (GNA).
According to the UN representative, the ISIS branch in Libya now has 2,000 to 3,000 fighters in the area of Sirte and about 2,000 in the rest of the country.
“They sink to the south, on the border of Niger and Chad,” he said.
“Obviously, they want to attack the oil. They do not seek to control production but to lead the country to economic disaster.”
“Our experts tell us that the Libyan fighters are much more professional than a year ago and 70% of them are foreigners. Tunisians, Algerians, Iraqis, Syrians, Moroccans,” he said. “It is no coincidence that Algeria as well as Tunisia stopped their flights to Tripoli.”
According to Kobler, ISIS militants make money off human trafficking, as various militias “kidnap and sell their hostages to ISIS. This is the same system in Iraq,” he said. “As for the weapons, they arrive by sea, Sudan, the traditional routes of traffic. Some militia also come to their aid.”
He suspected contacts with the Nigerian Boko Haram jihadist movement. A suspicion fueled by the arrest of a Nigerian during the dismantling of a jihadist cell in Tripoli last week with the arrest of 17 people.
“The expansion to the south of Libya is also a sign of this search for connections. This needs to be stopped quickly,” added the envoy of the UN.