12 February 2014

Libya Killing Spree Terrorises Citizens

Photo: Kate Thomas/IRIN
A rebel fighter chats with a friend in central Benghazi (file photo).

Benghazi — Unknown assassins settling scores, extremists out to make a point, military wings of political blocks eliminating rivals and outlaw gangs killing for profit are leaving a bloody trail from Derna to Benghazi. And citizens say the government appears unable to stop it.

The latest victim of a targeted assassination was a former policeman. On Monday (February 10th), Montasser Anwar Bennaser had just dropped off his son at school in Derna when a bomb exploded under his car.

A day earlier in nearby Karsa beach, a corpse was found tied to a large rock, with its feet and hands bound. Saiqa Special Forces member Alaa Mohammad Ali had disappeared a month ago after returning to Derna from Benghazi.

Former Libyan Attorney-General and Supreme Court Chancellor Abdul Aziz al-Hassadi was shot dead in the Derna city centre on Saturday.

The bloody week-end began with the assassination of a Benghazi imam. Cheikh Atef Madouli was gunned down after Asr prayers at al-Ansari mosque, in the city's Hadaiq district.

Given the murder wave paralysing the country, the families of five Sabha men abducted in Tripoli now fear the worst.

Al-Wataniya TV reporters Ibrahim Abdel-Gader, Sadam Al-Rashidi and Ibrahim Al-Wafi, along with Abdel-Gader's brothers Ramadan and Shaban, were kidnapped Sunday on the Airport Road.

Abdel-Gader's father told Libya Herald on February 11th that he had searched local detention centres in the hopes of finding the missing men but turned up no leads in their disappearance.

It is not just the victims' families. Libyan citizens are also wondering how abductions and killings seem to occur with no witnesses.

Jaber Magbari, a 28-year-old Benghazi resident, points out: "Most of the assassinations are in crowded places and in the presence of masses of people. Why did we not hear about one person intercepting the killers?"

"Benghazi streets are crowded with cars, yet all assassinations are taking place in the daytime," he tells Magharebia.

"It is well known that Benghazi witnesses assassinations from 2 in the afternoon to 11 at night, while the streets are crowded," he adds. "A car there cannot even reach 30 kilometres per hour, so how could the killers escape? It is impossible."

Faraj Majbari, 48, a former political prisoner during the Moamer Kadhafi regime, has a different theory about the violence.

"What is suspicious is that the rise and pace of assassinations always increases in tandem with any political activity in the country. This shows an intention to thwart the political process," he says.

"Operations vary, an indication that there are several parties behind this, reflecting the political disputes in Libya," Majbari adds.

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