Tripoli, 6 February 2013:
Standing beside the department store’s shattered windows Frouka said the incident ‘was just a normal accident”.
“You know Libya: No one has been trained to shoot properly.”
According to Frouka, a white Chevrolet was chasing a Nissan Tiida west along Gargaresh Street and opened fire. He says the gunman was aiming for the other vehicle but instead sprayed bullets across the façade of the department store.
The shooting occurred at 10.30 on yesterday morning, Tuesday, while there were customers inside the premises and although bullets hit across the length of the shop, miraculously no one was hurt. Security guard Abdurrahman Shibani was standing near the shop’s doorway during the attack and bullets passed either side of him. He said it was a surreal experience and a worrying sign that more needs to be done to improve security in Tripoli.
The incident comes amid heightened concerns about security across the country as the anniversary of the 17 February Revolution approaches. Cyrenaica federalists have threatened protests against the government and there are concerns they could turn violent.
On the whole staff and shoppers at BHS have shrugged off the attack. Apart from the broken glass there is very little damage inside the shop and Frouka told the Libya Herald it would not be long until things were completely back to normal. “We should have new windows in a couple of days and they won’t cost too much to replace, just one or two thousand dinars.”
Although it is impossible to know the shooter’s motive Farouka said a deliberate attack on the department store is unlikely as the shop had a good relationship with the community.
“Some people are saying things like this attack was because I’m from Misrata or because someone had a problem with the shop but this isn’t the case. It was just an accident and deliberate attacks on shops happen very rarely in Gargaresh. It’s a nice area. This kind of thing is only to be expected. We’re trying to move forward, and to create a new country but it’s very difficult to rebuild after Qaddafi and the police department isn’t effective yet.”