Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni accused Qatar of sending weapons to arm Libyan Islamist rebels and said that he will be forced to break off relations with the Gulf state if “this interference into Libya’s internal affairs continued,” Al Jazeera reported.
Three military planes from Qatar, allegedly loaded with weapons, landed at the rebel-held Matiga airport, about five miles east of Tripoli, on Sunday, Thinni said, in an interview to a UAE-based news network.
“Unfortunately they (the planes) reached Matiga airport,” Thinni reportedly said. “We confirm that we have official reports that these war planes carried weapons and ammunition.”
Thinni alleged the planes arrived at Matiga barely hours before a Sudanese aircraft, carrying arms for the Misrata rebels, was stopped by Libyan government forces near the southeastern desert town of Kufra.
Sudan had earlier confirmed it had sent a plane to the Libyan airport of Kufra, according to media reports. Sudanese officials, however, denied that the plane was transporting weapons, claiming instead that it was carrying equipment for a joint Libyan-Sudanese border force.
The Libyan government has, in recent months, lost vast territories to competing rebel forces operating within the country. The North African country is currently divided between a government that has relocated to the eastern city of Tobruk since it lost control of Tripoli to Misrata-based rebels, and a rival assembly and government set up by the Misrata forces.
The situation in Tripoli has further worsened because a general in the country's army has defected to form his own group. And, forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar have reportedly closed ports in the northern town of Benghazi to stop the supply of arms to rival rebel groups.