The statement comes after forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar said they had taken control of a border crossing with Algeria.
Libya’s presidential council has banned any military movement across the country without its approval after forces loyal to military commander Khalifa Haftar said they had taken control of a border crossing with Algeria and declared it a military zone.
“The commander-in-chief of the Libyan army announces a complete ban on the movement of military units, regardless of the nature of their work, without his prior approval,” said the Burkan al-Ghadab (Volcano of Rage) operation. government-led counter-offensive launched in April, said in a statement on Twitter on Saturday.
The statement states that the movement of ‘military convoys for any purpose or to transfer personnel, weapons or ammunition’ is prohibited.
If necessary, the “repositioning or relocation” of military convoys should only take place “in accordance … and with the approval of the Commander-in-Chief”, he added.
Earlier Saturday, a large military force loyal to Haftar said it was taking control of the southern Essen border crossing with Algeria.
Images posted online showed dozens of armored vehicles positioned in and around the intersection, which had been closed for several years due to the conflict in Libya.
The move comes after Haftar announced in a statement on Thursday an operation in the area “to track down the … terrorists and drive out African mercenary gangs that threaten security and stability”.
It is the first military operation of its kind by Haftar’s self-proclaimed Libyan national army since the signing of a ceasefire agreement late last year and the takeover by the unity government.
“Libya has had relative peace since the ceasefire agreement was signed in October, so this is a very important movement,” Malik Traina, Al Jazeera, said from Tripoli.
‘This is the first time [since then] that such a large military mobilization has taken place, ”he added.
Local sources in the south told Al Jazeera that the convoy that arrived on Saturday consisted of Tuareg fighters and forces loyal to former strongman Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya has been embroiled in a NATO-backed uprising, overthrowing Gaddafi in 2011 and eventually dividing the oil-rich country between a UN-recognized government in the capital and rival authorities in the east of the country, each backed by armed groups and foreign governments.
In April 2019, Haftar and its eastern forces, backed by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, launched an offensive to try to conquer Tripoli.
His 14-month campaign collapsed after Turkey stepped up its support for the Tripoli government with advanced military hardware, troops and thousands of mercenaries.
The ceasefire in October led to the formation of a joint interim government that replaced the two rival administrations. The task is to bring the divided country together and steer it through presidential and parliamentary elections on December 24.
There were concerns that the latest move by Haftar could ‘hamper the election and the peace process’, Traina said.
An international conference on Libya will take place on June 23 in Germany. The event, hosted by the United Nations, is intended to ‘bring together the relevant foreign actors … in Berlin to discuss Libya’s new interim unity government’.