Haftar's Libya expels 12 Sudan diplomats

web_photo_Khalifa Haftar_27072017

General Khalifa Haftar, commander in the Libyan National Army, arrives to attend a meeting for talks over a political deal to help end Libyas crisis in La Celle-Saint-Cloud near Paris

BENGHAZI, Libya - Authorities in eastern Libya backed by military strongman Khalifa Haftar on Thursday ordered the closure of a Sudanese consulate and the expulsion of 12 diplomats, a pro-Haftar news agency announced.

It said the order to shut down the mission in Kufra, an oasis in southern Libya, was taken on the grounds of "damage to Libyan national security".

The consul and 11 consular staff were given 72 hours to leave the country, which has been mired in anarchy since its 2011 revolution that toppled its longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Sudan's embassy in Tripoli is closed but a consulate with limited personnel serves Sudanese living in the capital, according to its Facebook page.

Officials in Khartoum have accused Haftar of enlisting rebels from Sudan's Darfur region to fight alongside his forces, while the field marshal has charged that Sudan supports "terrorists" in Libya.

Khartoum recognises the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord of UN-backed prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj, a rival of Haftar and Libya's eastern authorities supported by his forces.

According to officials in Khartoum, dozens of young Sudanese -- both men and women -- have been killed in Libya fighting in the ranks of the Islamic State jihadist group.