The Libyan rebels’ government, the National Transitional Council, held a press conference this afternoon to announce that their military chief, General Abdel Fatah Younis, has been killed in action. This came after earlier reports that he had been arrested by the rebels’ own government.
Al Jazeera is reporting that Younis and two other top rebel military commanders were killed by Qaddafi loyalists. Younis was apparently in the rebels’ custody and was being transferred for questioning when he was killed.
The Libyan rebels’ military chief, General Abdel Fatah Younis, was arrested today by his own government after doubts were raised about his loyalty to the opposition’s cause. Charged with smuggling arms to Qaddafi loyalists, Younis is being held in an undisclosed location in Benghazi, Al Jazeera reports.
For 40 years, Younis had been Colonel Moammar Qaddafi’s defence minister and head of the special forces. His defection to the opposition in February was considered a major coup for the rebels.
There were some unconfirmed reports this week of his death due to “mysterious circumstances.” An statement on the situation is expected soon from the National Transition Council, the rebel government.
The arrest has divided the rebel troops, with Al Jazeera reporting that some soldiers have returned to Benghazi from the front in order to demand the general’s release.
The civil war in Libya has largely stalemated, with Western negotiators struggling to find a way forward. While French and British officials have given up their previous demands that Qaddafi leave the country after stepping down, the rebels may not agree to that deal.
Moreover, Qaddafi’s fears that if he resigns he will face the same fate as Egypt’s Mubarak—whose trial begins August 3rd—were validated today, when the International Criminal Court stated that a future Libyan government would have “an obligation” to arrest Qaddafi if he stepped down and remained in the country.
That will certainly complicate Western efforts to negotiate Qaddafi’s resignation and an end to the war.
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