By Valerie Stocker.
Tripoli, 14 November:
A member of of Qaddafi’s notorious female security guard – also known as the “Amazons” – has . . .[restrict]been found stabbed to death in her Cairo apartment.
Egyptian police have announced that they discovered the body of Zohra Al-Buaishi on the morning of 9 November in her apartment in Cairo’s Nasr City district.
It seems she was assassinated under dubious circumstances, having reportedly been stabbed five times with a knife. Images that show her lying on the ground with at least two stab or slash wounds, one to the upper chest and one to the face, appear to corroborate the account.
Whilst official Egyptian sources have so far refrained from invoking political motives, others have called it “the beginning of a persecution campaign” against former Qaddafi loyalists in Cairo.
Her body has been handed over to the public prosecutor for investigation.
Pro-Qaddafi websites immediately took up the subject, calling the former Revolutionary Guard member and one of Qaddafi’s personal bodyguards a “martyr” and “hero” for not betraying their cause and announcing a commemorative prayer at the Makram Abeid Mosque in Nasr City, Cairo, on Sunday. “Her body will be carried past the United Nations Office”, read the announcement.
The reference to the United Nations is not random, explains Bawabat Al-Shabab, a news website sponsored by Egypt’s well-known Al-Ahram newspaper.
Apparently Al-Bouaishi had been participating in demonstrations against the current Libyan authorities, denouncing human rights violations committed against former regime supporters detained in Libyan prisons.
Her death is said to be linked to her active participation in a recent protest against the attack on Bani Walid that was held in front of the said UN building. Al-Shabab mentions a photo that shows Al-Buaishi at a recent demonstration..
Pro-Qaddafi websites have commented on this photo, accusing “the man with the t-shirt in the foreground” to have killed “Zohra” and that anyone with information about him should come forward.
But the story is far from un-equivocal and, as always, there are plenty of rumours about what could have triggered Al-Buaishi’s death and who might be pulling the strings.
According to comments on Facebook pages such as “We are all Zohra Al-Buaishi” she was in fact a double agent recruited by a secret dissident cell within the Military Council of Misrata during the revolution to help keep track of troop movement in Tripoli and locate weapons stocks. But former regime loyalists vehemently refute such rumours, which they call a “distortion of facts to tarnish her image”.
“Egypt should not be the scene of political account-settling, as it is a sanctuary for any Arab and this incident has sown fear among all persecuted Arabs”, said the TV presenter on “Dream 2”.
Following the revolution and the overthrow of Libya’s former regime, an estimated 50,000 Qaddafi supporters went into hiding in the neighbouring country. Many Libyans are angry at the Egyptian authorities for allowing this and not being more cooperative in handing over those thought to have committed serious crimes against the Libyan people.
Some of the most notable former figureheads are ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Abdussalam Treki, former internal security chief Al-Tohami Mohamed Khaled, Tayeb Al-Safi – the man responsible for quelling the uprising in the East at the start of the Libyan revolution, as well as Qaddafi’s cousin Ahmed Qaddaf Al-Dam, who used to play a key role in the external security apparatus and is now thought to be living in Cairo under a false identity.
But there have also been reports of former Libyan regime figures showing themselves in public and openly expressing their views on current affairs in Libya. After General Mohamed Hadia Al-Fitouri of the Libyan National Army was assassinated in Benghazi on 10 August, local newspapers reported that remnants of Libya’s former regime went as far as holding a celebratory party at the exclusive Intercontinental Hotel in Nasr City.
Fearing that such groups could plot against the new Libyan government, Libya’s interim authorities earlier this year reportedly handed their Egyptian counterparts a list said to include about 30 names of people to be extradited. According to recent news reports there has been progress in the bilateral negotiations on this matter. [/restrict]