Chad's justice minister has said a "special criminal court" handed jail terms to 243 rebels who crossed from Libya in February, before their incursion was halted by French air raids.
Out of "267 people who were arrested, 12 were sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison and 231 others to terms ranging from 10 to 15 years", Djimet Arabi told AFP news agency on Tuesday.
Twenty-four minors who had been detained were released, the minister said. The special court also handed down life sentences in absentia to nearly a dozen rebel leaders living outside Chad, including their chief Timan Erdimi, Arabi added.
The Union of Resistance Forces (UFR), an armed group opposed to Chadian President Idriss Deby, is based in the desert of southern Libya.
In February, UFR fighters crossed into northeastern Chad in a column of pick-up trucks and drove some 400km into Chadian territory before being halted by air raids from French fighter jets based near the Chadian capital, N'Djamena.
"The incursion of this armed column deep into Chadian territory was aimed at destabilising this country," the military of France, Chad's former colonial power, said in a statement at the time, adding that the attacks were carried out in response to a formal request for assistance by Chadian authorities.
The Chadian army moved in after the French intervention and later announced that it had captured more than 250 people.
Arabi said the special court had convened in Koro Toro, a prison located in the desert in the country's north, where proceedings began on August 20.
"The rebels were sentenced yesterday after a fair trial," he said.
Chad has suffered repeated coups and crises since it gained independence from France in 1960.
Deby has also faced several rebellions since seizing power in a military coup in 1990, while international observers have questioned the fairness of elections that have kept him in office for decades. Last year, he pushed through constitutional reforms that could keep him in office until 2033.
France sees Deby as key to a wider regional fight against armed groups and has based its 4,500-strong Operation Barkhane forces in N'djamena.
The eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) force said it had twice bombed the airport of Zuwara, a town west of Tripoli, saying it had targeted hangars used by Turkish drones.
The attacks are part of a campaign currently in its fifth month to try to take Tripoli held by the internationally recognised government. The LNA is commanded by Khalifa Haftar allied to a parallel government in the east.
The UN Libya mission (UNSMIL) said in a statement it had visited Zuwara airport and found no military infrastructure or assets.
“The Mission renews its condemnation of the attacks conducted by the LNA forces against Zuwara airport, which cause serious damage,” it said, adding that the runway had been damaged.
The LNA also flew late on Saturday several airstrikes against an airbase in the western city of Misrata, whose forces are helping to defend Tripoli, residents said.
“Three massive explosions could be heard,” said one of them.
The LNA could not be immediately reached for comment.
The LNA has resorted to increased airstrikes against Tripoli airport and other targets since its ground campaign has failed to make it beyond southern suburbs of the Libyan capital.
Turkey has supplied the Tripoli forces with drones and trucks to match military support by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates for the LNA, according to diplomats.
The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) revealed the intention to turn the humanitarian truce between the UN-backed government and the rival east-based army into a permanent cease-fire.
"After the UNSMIL called upon the parties on Aug 8 to express their commitment to a humanitarian truce on the occasion of Eid al-Adha, the mission welcomes the positive response by the parties and the palpable reduction of violence in the Tripoli area," the mission said in a statement released on Wednesday.
However, there were still violations of the truce, which include use of heavy fire in civilian areas, the statement noted. The special representative of the UN secretary-general expressed the readiness of UNSMIL to transform what was accomplished in the period of truce into a permanent cease-fire, according to the statement.
Since early April, the government has been engaged in a deadly armed conflict against the army, which is trying to take over the capital Tripoli and overthrow the government.
The fighting so far has killed more than 1,000 people, injured more than 5,700 others, and forced over 120,000 to flee their homes, according to the World Health Organization
Rocket fire hit the Libyan capital's sole functioning airport on Sunday, violating a temporary truce between the GNA and forces loyal to Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, airport authorities said. "Mitiga airport has been targeted by fire this morning, the first day of Eid Al Adha," the airport's management said in a statement on Facebook, referring to the three-day Muslim holiday that began on Sunday.
Air traffic was suspended "until further notice", the statement added, alongside photos showing columns of smoke rising from the runway and parked planes. The GNA blamed Field Marshal Haftar's forces for the attack against the airport, and for a separate alleged attack in the Soug Al Jomaa district of Tripoli. "Haftar's militias have violated the truce twice," GNA spokesman Mustafa Al Mejii told AFP.
"The first time targeted a home in Soug Al Jomaa, wounding three civilians, and the second hit Mitiga airport." Located east of Tripoli, Mitiga is a former military airbase that has been used by civilian traffic since Tripoli's international airport suffered severe damage during fighting in 2014.
Mitiga is in a zone under the control of forces loyal to the UN-recognised GNA and has often been targeted. "We have noted the co-ordinates of the rocket fire from zones controlled by Haftar's militias south of the capital" and passed them on to the UN mission in Libya," Mr Mejii said. Libyan TV channels also reported exchanges of fire around the road to the closed international airport on Sunday.
Forces battling for control of Libya's capital, Tripoli, have agreed to a truce on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. The UN is trying to broker a truce in Tripoli, where the LNA in April launched a surprise attack to seize the city from forces loyal to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). The global agency had called on both sides to commit to a humanitarian truce by midnight on Friday.
The spokesman for the Libya National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar, Ahmad al-Mesmari, announced "a halt to all military operations ... in the suburbs of Tripoli".
The ceasefire was "out of respect for this occasion's place in our spirits ... so that Libyan citizens can celebrate this Eid in peace," he said. The GNA had said late on Friday that it was eager to "ease the suffering of the citizens and allow rescue workers to accomplish their mission" and would accept "a humanitarian truce for Eid al-Adha".
But it listed several conditions, saying the ceasefire must be observed "in all combat zones, with a cessation of direct and indirect fire and movement of troops".
It also said the truce must include "a ban on flights and reconnaissance overflights" across the country's entire airspace. The GNA also called on the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to "ensure the implementation of the truce and note any breaches".
The deal came just after at least three U.N. staff members were killed Saturday when a car bomb exploded in Benghazi, Libya, a U.N. spokesman said. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack in a statement released by his spokesman. The statement said three other U.N. staff members were among the injured. The U.N. Security Council met Saturday afternoon to discuss the actions in Libya.
"The U.N. does not intend to evacuate from Libya," Bintou Keita, the assistant secretary-general for peace operations, told the council, which also condemned the attack. The United Nations gave no more details of the car bombing.
Libyan forces allied to militia leader Khalifa Haftar launched air strikes early Tuesday against a government airbase in third city Misrata, hours after a bombing in the south of the country left 42 people dead.
"Our air force carried out several raids against the Misrata airbase, targeting anti-air defences as well as a Turkish aircraft transporting ammunition, drones and missiles," Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army said in a statement on its Facebook page.
Pro-Haftar television channel Libya Al-Hadath said a Turkish Ilyushin aircraft "was destroyed as it landed at the Misrata base", airing footage of the alleged strikes.
Forces loyal to the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) did not comment on the reports. Haftar forces launched an offensive in April to capture the Libyan capital.
Many of the government's best equipped and most seasoned fighters come from Misrata, which is east of the Libyan capital.
Turkey and Qatar have been the main supporters of the GNA government, while Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have backed Haftar.
According to reports, at least 42 people have died in a drone strike that hit a town hall meeting in the town of Murzuq in south-western Libya carried out by the forces of the Libya National Army (LNA). Gen Haftar's forces stated that they targeted the town late on Sunday, but denied targeting civilians.
The airstrike left "42 dead and more than 60 injured, 30 of them critically" at the town hall in Qalaa neighbourhood, where more than 200 people were at a meeting "to settle social differences", council official Ibrahim Omar told AFP news agency.
Local media had conflicting reports earlier saying that the strike had allegedly hit a wedding party.
The UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) condemned the attack on social media and accused Gen Haftar's forces of carrying it out. It also urged the UN to "carry out an investigation into the crimes committed by Haftar's militias in Murzuq".
Pro-Haftar media outlets said the attack had targeted Chadian mercenaries, which is how they refer to the Tebu ethnic group which opposes Gen Haftar in the oil-rich southern part of the country.
This is the second time in two months that an air strike thought to be by Gen Haftar's forces has resulted in mass civilian casualties. In June, some 44 people were killed in a migrant detention centre on the outskirts of Tripoli.
Months of fighting between the GNA and Mr Haftar's forces has claimed more than 1,000 lives since April, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Government of National Accord (GNA) announced on Saturday, August 3 that it had downed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) of Gen. Khalifa Haftar’s forces.
One of Khaftar’s Wing-Loong type UAVs was downed by forces of the Middle Military Zone affiliated with the GNA, said the Facebook page of the GNA-led Burkan Al-Ghadab Operation.
The statement included photos of the downed drone, stating that the drone was sent to strike civilian targets in the northwestern city of Misrata, 200 kilometres (124 miles) east of the capital Tripoli.
It added that in retaliation for downing the UAV, Haftar’s forces fired a Grad missile near a hall at Mitiga International Airport -- 8 km (5 mi) from the Tripoli city center -- where a group of would-be Muslim pilgrims were gathered.
This represent one of the latest outbursts of violence since Gen. Khalifa Haftar, leader of the military forces in eastern Libya, launched an offensive to capture Tripoli, and GNA forces responded with the Burkan Al-Ghadab operation. Over recent weeks, as the Libya National Army (LNA) forces struggle to make any significant advances in the front lines, there has been a significant increase in air operations.
The Libyan Interior Ministry said Wednesday that the UN envoy Ghassan Salame had provided misinformation and fallacies about the conflict in Tripoli in his recent briefing at the Security Council.
The Interior Ministry said Salame gave untrue account when he referred to the arrest of the head of medicine and food control centre Mohammed Al-Mashai in his account of the kidnapping of the member of House of Representatives Siham Sirgiwa, which showed him making equal the two incidents - humanitarian-wise and legal-wise.
"Al-Mashai was arrested not kidnapped. He was detained by a judicial warrant and he was referred to the Public Prosecutor. How could his case be brought to light and likened to the forced disappearance and abduction of Sirgiwa whose whereabouts are still unknown." The statement reads.
It adds that Salame gave false information about the airstrikes by Khalifa Haftar's forces on Tajoura migrants' detention centre, saying some migrants were shot dead, which "is an allegation that is not true."
"All reports, forensic evidence, local investigations and information speak for the truth about the death of the migrants, but the UNSMIL didn't take part in those reports and didn't see them." The statement further added.
It indicated that Salame took sides in his recent briefing at the Security Council for certain policies at the expense of objectivity and truth, which is a failure on the UN part.