Libyan officials say more than 100 POWs of the Eastern War have been released

Cairo (AP) —Wednesday, military forces in western Libya captured more than 100 prisoners while fighting under the banner of an eastern-based commander in a reconciliation gesture following a recent agreement. The official said.

The fighter, an army of Commander Khalifa Hifter, was released in the coastal town of Zawiya at a television ceremony attended by newly appointed high-ranking interim government officials.

Mohammad Younes Menfi, chairman of the Presidential Council, called the move towards a national reconciliation initiative launched by the Council after a fierce battle between eastern and western rival governments as an “important step.”

The liberated people were seen wearing traditional white uniforms and hats at a ceremony at the soccer stadium before reuniting with their families.

Mustafa Arconi, Vice-Chairman of the Presidential Council, called for the release of all Libyan prisoners of war.

The Hifter army launched an attack in April 2019 to occupy Tripoli, but the campaign collapsed in June last year.

The war side reached a ceasefire agreement in October, effectively ending the war and paving the way for UN-led political negotiations. These consultations then appointed a provisional government in February prior to the elections later this year.

Oil-rich Libya was in turmoil after the 2011 NATO-backed uprising struck and killed long-time dictator Muang Mar Gadafi. For many years, the country has been divided into two governments, east and west, each supported by a huge number of militias and foreign powers.