Battle of Traghan
After the Second Libyan Civil War broke out in 2014, as numerous armed factions started to fight for control of Libya, the different Libyan parties began to hire Chadian and Sudanese mercanaries to fight for them. As result, armed groups (including insurgents) would cross into Libya, and became incrasingly involved in local politics. One of the rebel groups that have become active in Liya is the "Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic" (CCMSR), a Chadian rebel faction which seeks to overthrow Idriss Déby, President and de facto dictator of Chad since 1990.
On 27 December 2018, Chadian irregulars launched a surprise attack on a camp of the Khalifa Haftar-loyal Libyan National Army's 10th Infantry Brigade in Traghan. The militants who were described as being well-trained, used 10 cars and one armored vehicle to initially overrun part of the camp, including its headquarters, where they killed the commander of the brigade's Battalion 181, Lieutenant Colonel Khalid Masoud Rahoma. The assistant commander of the LNA garrison, Colonel Juma al-Thabet was wounded and captured by the irregulars.
The surprised garrison troops rallied, however, and with the support of local civilians launched a counter-attack. Besides al-Thabet, twelve other soldiers were also wounded amid the fighting. After about two to three hours of combat, the Chadians were forced to retreat under heavy fire by mid-day. They left Colonel al-Thabet behind, but managed to retreat with 24 to 34 captured military vehicles.
In response to the attack, Traghan's LNA garrison began a security sweep in the area, hoping to find and eliminate the attackers. The LNA soldiers tracked the Chadians, whom they initially identified as rebels or bandits, until Ghadduwah. What happened when they arrived there is disputed. According to the Arab Weekly, they found no insurgents present, whereas the Libya Herald reported that they encountered and defeated a detachment of Chadian militants. In either case, the 10th Infantry Brigade's soldiers freed 22 hostages at Ghadduwah. These people were previously believed to have been kidnapped by suspected Libyan Islamic State insurgents during brutal raids in the region during October and November 2018. At the time, the Islamic State had claimed responsibility for the raids. The discovery that a Chadian militant base had hosted hostages of the Islamic State has led Libyan officials to question if possible links between Chadian rebels and Libyan jihadists might exist. Furthermore, a few days after the battle at Traghan, a leading CCMSR member was arrested in Tripoli, resulting in further speculations about the nature of the Chadian attackers. The Libya Herald claimed later on, however, that the Chadians at Ghadduwah belonged to another militia than the ones who had attacked Traghan.
Various Libyan political factions as well as local residents condemned the attack, while one Chadian opposition group, the "Chadian People's Revolutionary Army", claimed on behalf of the Chadian opposition that no Chadians had been involved in the fighting. The LNA increased its presence in the region due to the battle at Traghan. On 2 January 2019, Khalifa Haftar sent additional troops to southern Libya, and the LNA launched an offensive to evict rival forces, including Chadian militias, from the area in mid-January.
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- "Tripoli issues surprise arrest warrant for Belhaj". The Arab Weekly. 6 January 2019. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
- Jamal Adel (19 January 2019). "Terror suspects killed in large LNA operation in south Libya". Libya Herald. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
- "الاستيلاء على 30 عربة مسلحة في الهجوم على معسكر تراغن" [Thirty armed vehicles captured in the attack on the Tragan camp]. Libya Observer (in Arabic). 28 December 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
- "حركة معارضة تشادية تنفي الهجوم على معسكر اللواء العاشر في تراغن" [Chadian opposition movement denies attack on 10th Brigade camp in Tragan]. Alwasat (in Arabic). 29 December 2018. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
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- Al-awsat, Asharq. "Chadian Gunmen Attack LNA Camp in Southern Libya". aawsat.com. Retrieved 2019-01-05.
- "Supported by the UAE, Haftar seeks to control south Libya". Middle East Monitor. 2019-01-02. Retrieved 2019-01-05.