Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar is in a coma at a Paris hospital after suffering a stroke, according to reports.The commander of the eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA), a rival administration to the UN-backed Government of National Accord, was reportedly flown to Paris earlier this month.
France 24 reported Haftar, 75, was rushed to the Jordanian capital of Amman after losing consciousness and was later transferred to the French capital.
According to French journalist Huguex Vincent, Haftar was admitted on Wednesday to Val-de-Grace, a military hospital, and his health condition is “serious”, he said on Twitter.
However, speaking on al-Nabaa TV, Haftar’s spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari denied the claims as “fake news” touted by Haftar’s opponents, and his aides pointed to undated photographs of the military man inspecting troops inside Libya.
Haftar’s absence, or speculation about his health, could cause further upheaval in the already chaotic Libyan political situation.
Libya has been mired in violent turmoil since a NATO-backed uprising in 2011 toppled and killed longtime dictator Moamer Gaddafi, with rival administrations and multiple militias vying for control of the oil-rich country.
Haftar’s forces are backed by Russia, Egypt and the UAE.