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Why southern Libya overwhelmingly supports Hifter

Despite negative media coverage, Libya’s military strongman Gen. Khalifa Hifter’s takeover of Sabha in the south was widely welcomed by local tribes that are tired of dealing with gangs and criminals.

The three main tribes in Libya’s southern Fezzan region largely support Gen. Khalifa Hifter’s military takeover. Despite little media coverage, his Libyan National Army (LNA) has come to an agreement with most of the main tribal authorities in Libya’s southern capital city, Sabha, and other areas in the southeast. The military operation has restored some security in a part of the country where human, fuel and drug trafficking has run rampant since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime in 2011.

Libya’s three main southern tribes are Awlad Suleiman, Tebu and Tuareg. They have all released official statements declaring support for Hifter’s army, though some members have raised concerns for the LNA’s reputation of brutal military force over the territories it controls. Awlad Suleiman released a statement through its municipal council, rather than directly through its tribal spokespersons, to avoid disputes with the rival Tripoli government it receives support from.

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