By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 23 September:
Heavily armed members of the Supreme Security Committee who were caught up in continuing deadly clashes . . .[restrict]in Brak arrived at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli yesterday afternoon and threatened to blow it up. They claimed that military support promised by the Ministry of Defence had never arrived in Brak and that both the Ministers of Interior, Fawzi Abdelal and Defence, Osama Juwaily, had refused to meet with them on the matter.
They demanded the resignation of Juwaily. They were accompanied by members of families of those SSC members killed in Brak.
At least six people, mostly SSC members, were killed when fighting broke out in Brak on Wednesday following the killing of a local girl. Locals said she had been shot by the SSC when they tried to arrest her brother at the family home. There was a lull on Thursday but on Friday the clashes became more deadly. Another sixteen SSC members were reported killed and 50 injured. Homes were damaged and many local people fled to Sebha during the day. The SSC itself later pulled out of the town.
One family who left for Sebha whose home had been badly damaged said that they hoped to go back tomorrow, Monday, when (and if) the army returns.
A source in the interior ministry claimed that Friday’s clashes had occurred after the SSC tried to arrest a number of people who had celebrated Muammar Qaddafi’s “Fateh Revolution Day” on 1 September and that the dead had been killed by pro-Qaddafi sympathisers. However, locals have told the Libya Herald that tensions had been rising in the town in recent weeks because of the behaviour of the SSC forces. They also said that Friday’s fighting was a continuation of Wednesday’s.
The ministry source said that the troops, who had returned to Tripoli with the bodies of their colleagues, had demanded to see the two ministers to find why promised support had never materialized. The support reportedly had included troop reinforcements and weapons after the SSC had run out of ammunition and some of them had been captured.
The SSC claimed that that the Interior Ministry had also promised to send ambulance vehicles, but this did not happen either.
The source also said that other security battalions in Tripoli had joined the demonstrators outside the Rixos Hotel. He mentioned troops from Suq Al-Juma, the home of some of those killed in Brak.
Additional reporting by Michel Cousins. [/restrict]