Tripoli, 7 June:
by Sami Zaptia.
- Airport attack
- Benghazi US consulate attack
- No new news regarding Saif and Senussi
- Libya is a state where the law now operates
- No one above the law – even the NTC
- The information war
Yesterday’s official weekly government press conference was dominated by the attack on Tripoli International Airport and the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi.
Although official spokesperson for the Prime Minister, Nasser Al-Mana , did his best to try and distract the general public away from the two biggest events of the week by making the media sit through nearly an hour of routine news before making his way to these attacks.
Tripoli Airport attack
Al-Mana said that ‘government institutions had no knowledge of the whereabouts of the missing person’, the Tarhuna military commander Abu-Ajilah Habshi, who was kidnapped by unknowns on Tripoli Airport road last Sunday. This was given as the reason by the Tarhuna militias for their attack on Tripoli Airport.
Nevertheless, he ‘condemned the kidnapping of anyone’ and he equally condemned ‘any attack on any public institution for any reason’.
The spokesperson revealed that the government had given orders to the Interior Ministry and the Army to use force against anyone who attacks government institutions. He confirmed that the airport was reclaimed within hours and that arrests were made and vehicles were held.
He pointed out that both Tarhuna Military and Local Councils had distanced themselves from this brigade from Tarhuna.
A committee had been formed to investigate the incident. Investigations were continuing.
When challenged by journalists as to how such a relatively small group of militias were able to occupy Tripoli airport, and how they were not spotted en route to the airport, the spokesperson admitted that ‘mistakes were made’ and that the government ‘should learn from these mistakes’.
The spokesperson had nothing new to add to the incident of the attack on the US consulate building in Benghazi. He confirmed it was some kind of homemade device and that it had hit the outside wall of the consulate causing little damage. He had no evidence of the people behind the attack. He said investigations were continuing.
For more on this story see: http://www.libyaherald.com/islamist-militants-claim-responsibility-for-attack-on-us-mission
Abdullah Al-Senussi will be put on trial in Libya
When asked about the latest regarding Abdullah Al-Senussi, Qaddafi’s brother-in-law and former head of intelligence, Al-Mana said that there was no change in the situation. Libya still demanded his handover by Mauritania to face a fair and just trial, and that Mauritania was willing to hand him over. He confirmed that he will be put on trial in Libya soon.
Saif Al-Islam is still in Libya
The official spokesperson denied categorically the rumour that Saif Al-Islam had escaped to Niger or any other neighbouring country. He confirmed he was still in Libya.
He confirmed that he will be put on trial in Libya soon.
More prisons and courts are ready and operational
The spokesperson announced that the Ministry of Justice reported that the second batch of members of the Justice Police had graduated. These are the official security personnel responsible for security at Libya’s prisons and courts.
He also pointed out the regular media reports of an increasing number of prisons being handed over to the government by militias.
He admitted, however, that because of ‘exceptional circumstances‘ quite a few state prisons or prisoners were still being secured by militias. He felt that the circumstances were now quickly changing as the state was slowly re-establishing itself and taking more and more control with each passing day.
‘The law’ is now in operation in Libya
Al-Mana also reviewed the two prominent court cases of the week of Qaddafi’s last foreign intelligence head, Abu Zaid Dorda, and the appeal against Law 37, which bans the glorification of Qaddafi and his ideas.
The spokesperson was eager to highlighting the fact that Libya’s court system was now operational and stressed that Libya was now a state of the law.
On the other hand he was also at pains to point out that in the new Libya the highest legislative arm of the state, the NTC, was being challenged in court over Law No 37.
Linking this to the airport attack and the various other military attacks over the last month, he appealed to Libyans to seek redress for their perceived grievances through the law courts that were now operating, and not by the use of violence.
For more on Law 37 see: http://www.libyaherald.com/lawyers-hail-supreme-courts-law-37-review/
For more on the trail of Qaddafi’s last foreign intelligence head Abu Zaid Dorda see: http://www.libyaherald.com/dorda-trial-opened-and-adjounred/
Is there a link between all these acts of violence?
Linking the various events of disorder and armed attacks on government institutions as well as the attacks on Tripoli airport, the US consulate in Benghazi and the destruction of non-Muslim grave tombstones a few months ago, Al-Mana denied that there was a pattern or that they were connected or that they were carried out by the same group.
It’s an information war…
Al-Mana warned the media and the general public against the media war being conducted by the enemies of the new Libya. He warned against false facts and allegations such as the claim that Saif Al-Islam Qaddafi had escaped to a neighbouring country.
The spokesperson warned that the more stable and secure Libya became, the more effort its enemies made in an attempt to de-stabilize it.
Integrity and Patriotism Commission
The spokesperson confirmed that prominent members of the government had now handed in the forms sent by the Integrity and Patriotism Commission.
Last week, the Integrity and Patriotism Commission complained that numerous prominent members of the government had not handed in these forms in which they declare their assets.
New ‘Silvium’ undersea communications cable to Greece
The spokesperson announced that a new undersea communications cable called ‘silvium’ will be laid between Derna in north eastern Libya and Greece. This will hopefully help improve communications.
Meanwhile, he stressed that the Ministry of Communications is doing its best to improve the communications infrastructure damaged during the Revolution in all towns and cities.
HNEC warns against commencement of election campaigns
The spokesperson relayed the press release by the High National Election Commission (HNEC) in which it warned candidates against starting their election campaigns prior to it releasing the final list of accepted candidates.
See the HNEC ‘s new English language website for more on Libya’s elections: www.hnec.ly