By Libya Herald Staff.
Tripoli, 4 November 2013:
A military governor responsible for security in Benghazi is being appointed, according to the Minister . . .[restrict]of Defence Abdullah Al-Thini.
He was speaking this morning at a special session of the General National Congress on the security situation in the city. It had been demanded by the city’s Congress members. The Deputy Prime Minister, Sadiq Abdulrahman, who is acting Interior Minister, had been summoned to explain what the government was doing. So too had the Justice Minister, Salah Marghani, as well as Al-Thini, Intelligence head Salem Al-Hassi and the Chief of Staff, Major-General Abdussalam Jadallah Al-Obeidi.
Contrary to media reports, the Prime Minister was not called, Congressman Ahmed Langhi told the Libya Herald.
In his address to Congress, Thini said that, following discussions between his ministry, Benghazi Congress members and the local council, the appointment of security supremo would be made as soon as possible. However, he refused to name him for security reasons. However, members of Congress later named him as Colonel Awad Al-Saiti who replaced Colonel Younis Al-Abduli just over a week ago as head of the Benghazi Joint Security Room (BJSR).
A fortnight ago, the Prime Minister named Colonel Wanis Bukhamada, the man who currently heads the Saiqa Brigade (special forces) in Benghazi, as the city’s new security supremo.
Speaking today, Thini blamed the spate of killings and the unstable security situation in Benghazi on the absence of a specific plan for the Benghazi Joint Security Room (BJSR). This would now change, he said. In addition to the new security supremo, there would be a new security force at the BJSR. He would not go into the security details, however, saying that this was responsibility of the BJSR.
According to Congressman Langhi, the results of the new plan would be seen within the next couple of days.
His fellow Benghazi congressman, Saleh Joudah, told this paper that as of today there would be around 1,500 military personnel stationed at strategic locations across the city. They would be members of the Libyan army, he said, but they would be under under the command of the BJSR.
The force, Joudah added, would begin by protecting the most important parts of the city, including all the entrances.
For his part, the Justice Minister told Congress that judges in Benghazi were threatened on an almost daily basis and that until now there had been no one to protect them.
As to who was responsible for the wave of killings, the Chief of Staff revealed that three groups were under investigation. However, for security reasons he too would not name them.
Meanwhile, in a statement today coinciding with the Congress debate, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) said it strongly condemned the wave of killings in Benghazi and called on the government to intensify its efforts focus on security in the city as a matter of priority.
A week ago, the BJSR spokesman said that 400 armed vehicles with members of the Libyan Revolutionaries Operations Room had arrived in the city. It was reported at the time that they had come from the west of the country to help ensure Benghazi’s security. However, there were other reports that these were pro-Islamist revolutionaries who had returned east to support their colleagues following the apparent backlash against a number of brigade leaders in the wake of the murder of the Benghazi head of military police Colonel Ahmed Mustafa Al-Barghathi,
With input from Ahmed Elumami and Ashraf Abdul-Wahab [/restrict]