TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A Libyan renegade general has agreed to observe a ceasefire in his declared war on militant Islamists during national elections on June 25, his spokesman said on Tuesday.
Libya’s elections commission called the vote after parliament agreed to dissolve itself under popular pressure. Many Libyans blame lawmakers for the widespread lawlessness that has marked the country’s transition towards democracy since the uprising that ousted autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Retired general Khalifa Haftar month-old campaign against Islamist militants, among the many armed factions defying state authority, in the eastern city of Benghazi triggered heavy clashes that have killed more than 100 people. His forces have used jets and helicopters to attack suspected militant camps.
Haftar says the central government in Tripoli has failed to stop Islamists such as Ansar al-Shariya which run their own checkpoints in Benghazi, where several oil firms are based.
To allow Libyans to vote in the parliamentary election set for June 25 Haftar’s forces agreed to a truce that day brokered by a committee of wisemen, his spokesman Mohamed El Hejazi said.
Libya has been in almost chronic turmoil for three years. with successive prime ministers struggling for legitimacy, various armed groups paralyzing governance and a loss of vital oil export revenue due to a blockade of ports by rebels.
Reporting by Feras Bosalum; Writing by Ulf Laessing; Editing by Mark Heinrich