Bengazi: Eight soldiers were killed on Saturday in an attack on a training camp belonging to the eastern Libyan armed forces of Khalifa Haftar in the southern city of Sebha, the head of the local municipality said.

Hamed Al Khaiyali told Reuters one soldier had been beheaded, the others “slaughtered” or shot.

A source in Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) blamed Daesh and Chadian fighters for the attack, the latter a term used by the LNA for tribesmen opposing Haftar.

Sebha – like much of the south and its oil fields – is controlled by the LNA but the force has moved troops north for a month-long offensive on the capital Tripoli, held by the internationally recognised government.

The LNA faced strong opposition from the Tebu ethnic group during its campaign in the south at the start of the year.

Meanwhile, fighting raged in the battle for the Libyan capital Tripoli on Friday, with neither faction able to secure gains as an offensive by Haftar entered its fifth week, killing almost 400 people and displacing 50,000.

LNA has in the past week brought up more troops and heavy guns to the frontline.

But it has been unable to breach the defences in the city’s southern suburbs of forces loyal to the internationally recognised government in Tripoli.

Libya has been in a state of chaos since Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011 after 40 years in power by insurgents backed by NATO air power.

The battle for Tripoli has all but wrecked UN-backed efforts for a peace deal between the rival factions, and has disrupted the oil industry of a country that is one of Africa’s largest producers.