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Libyan 'execution chief' has been arrested, Haftar forces say

ICC fugitive Mahmoud al-Werfalli is under investigation, says general command of Haftar's 'Libyan National Army'
Mahmoud al-Werfalli purportedly pictured in execution video (screengrab)

Security forces in eastern Libya said on Thursday they had arrested the commander of an elite forces unit who is sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for allegedly executing dozens of prisoners.

The general command of the Libyan National Army (LNA), the force that controls most of eastern Libya, said the commander, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, was being investigated by a military prosecutor.

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The LNA is led by general Khalifa Haftar, who opposes the internationally recognised government in Tripoli.

"We inform you that the defendant in your judicial case, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, is under investigation for the cases against him by the general military prosecutor and is now under arrest," the LNA said in a statement, addressing the ICC.

Werfalli is wanted for allegedly executing dozens of prisoners in the spring and summer of this year, towards the end of a three-year LNA campaign against Islamist militants and other opponents for control of the eastern city of Benghazi.

The elite forces are a powerful unit nominally under LNA control that joined the Benghazi campaign in its early stages.

The LNA commended the ICC on its "efforts to achieve stability and social security".

"We announce our readiness to cooperate with you in informing you of the result and course of the judicial case," the LNA said.

The statement gave no indication whether the LNA may be prepared to hand Werfalli over to the ICC, which issued an arrest warrant for him on Tuesday.

An elite forces spokesman had earlier dismissed the warrant, saying the ICC should instead be seeking to arrest the LNA's opponents.

The LNA is the dominant force in eastern Libya. It declared victory in its Benghazi campaign in July.