By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 15 June 2013:
In a bid to reassure people in Benghazi that the government is fully focused on the . . .[restrict]security situation in the city and intends to take action, it has been announced that tomorrow’s weekly cabinet meeting will be there rather than in Tripoli.
Meanwhile, it has been announced that hundreds of gunmen took part in last night’s attacks. However, so far none has been identified according to the official spokesman of the Chief of Staff, Colonel Ali Sheikhi. Nonetheless, the authorities were confident they would, he said. Car numbers had been taken as had photos of some of the attackers.
Sheikhi added that extra measures to protect military bases and security headquarters had been taken following the attacks. In a telephone interview with Libya Al-Wataneya TV he stated that there would also be an increased military presence at all city exits and entrances to the city.
As part of the increased security, a consignment of armoured vehicles arrived this evening in Benghazi, transferred there by the Ministry of the Interior.
In his interview, Sheikhi said that those who had carried out the attacks were intent on undermining law and order in the city and replacing it with chaos in to destablise Libya and prevent it growing into a civilised, democratic, advanced country.
Although it has been alleged that those responsible for the attacks were members of the First Battalion of the Libya Shield (Deraa 1), ejected from its headquarters last Saturday by the Army’s Special Forces (the Saiqa Brigade) following deadly protests outside the base in which 31 people died, the head of Benghazi’s Counter Crime Agency has suggested that Qaddafi elements were in fact behind the attacks.
Colonel Sulaiman Abu-Wishah told Benghazi Radio that two members of a Qaddaf Al-Dam sabotage group have been arrested. He claimed that the group was professional, its task to cause dissension and unrest and that it was believed to be behind a number of other attacks in Benghazi. Names of some of the members had now been discovered, he said. They included nine Egyptians from the Egyptian city of Minya. Others, he alleged were believed to be supporters of the former regime.
In a separate development, tribal representatives from all over Libya meeting in Solouq, south of Benghazi, today called for all militias in Libya to be dissolved and only the army and police to be allowed to exist. The Saiqa Brigade was part of the army and it must be supported, they said. They called on all parents in Libya who have sons in any militia to order them to quit.
They also accused the government, Congress and Benghazi Local Council of being too weak.
With input from Maha Ellawati in Benghazi.