Tripoli, 14 April 2013:
Former Guantanamo inmate Sufian Ben Qumu, labeled by media in the US as a suspect in the killing . . .[restrict]in Benghazi last September of American Ambassador Chris Stevens, escaped an assassination bid yesterday in Lathron, near Ras Al-Hilal, between Beida and Derna, it has been reported.
According to the Facebook page of a Derna newspaper, a colleague was shot and seriously wounded instead.
The colleague, variously named as Hassan Buthahib or Mansouri, is said to have been using Ben Qumu’s car when it was attacked.
Derna-born Ben Qumu, alleged to have been a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), was held in Guantanamo Bay for six years before being released in 2007 but handed over to the Qaddafi regime on condition that he continue to be held in jail. In 2010, however, he was released from the notorious Bu Sleem prison as part of an amnesty for anti-regime prisoners.
He then went on to become a leader of the anti-Qaddafi forces in Derna during the revolution and subsequently was one of the founders of Ansar Al-Sharia in Libya.
If Ben Qumu was the target of the reported attack, the timing will be regarded by some as highly suspicious. It comes just five days after another Ansar Al-Sharia commander, Yahya Abdel Sayed, from Benghazi, was assassinated in Sirte.
One report, however, states that yesterday’s attack was the result of a personal feud with the family of a man Ben Qumu is said to have killed.
There were unconfirmed reports that when it was initially reported that he had been killed in yesterday’s attack there were celebrations in Derna.