In western Libya, Omar Tantoush, a Wershefanan military leader who was side-lined by Haftar in favour of Idriss Madi for the position of LNA Operations Commander in western Libya, responded on October 3 with a show of force, gathering together his tribe’s militia fighters and soldiers in their area of influence, south west of Tripoli. While Tantoush’s forces were allied with the LNA, it meant Haftar had powerful allies located within striking distance of the capital who he could call on if needed (as well as Zintan). But now, Tantoush seems to be positioning his militias as a separate entity which could side either with Haftar or with his Misratan rivals, both of whom have eyes on the capital, depending on which alliance would prove most advantageous.
In the south, ex-Qadhafi regime commander, Ali Kanna, was elected as head of the southern forces by a number of soldiers from Al-Shati in southern Libya, during a televised session on 6 October. Kanna is a veteran Tuareg commander of Qadhafi’s forces who fought against National Transitional Council fighters in 2011.The session was later interrupted by a force led by LNA Colonel Ben Nayel, who seized the premises and later disarmed the group, releasing the ‘mutinous’ soldiers on 7 October to go back south.
Local sources report that agitation within Misratan ranks is increasing due to the prolonged battle, failure of the GNA and Haftar’s growing power. This may lead to deeper tensions and rifts within Misrata, increasing the tensions between those wishing for dialogue with Haftar and hardliners who wish to fight.