By Ashraf Abdul-Wahab.
Tripoli, 6 December 2013:
Colonel Salah Buhulaiga, the commander of the Zawia Martyrs Brigade in Sirte, was killed early this . . .[restrict]morning, apparently in a car crash. The accident, at around 3am, happened at Bukrain, half way between Misrata and Sirte, at the junction with the road heading down to Hun and Sebha.
The head of the SSC in Tripoli, Hashem Bishr, told the Libya Herald that intelligence contacts and members of the brigade in Sirte had confirmed to him that the death was an accident.
Whether this is believed in the present climate, with killings of security officials in Buhulaiga’s home city of Benghazi soaring, remains to be seen. There had been attempts to kill Buhulaiga recently. In October, a bomb was thrown at his home in the city but no one was injured. Less than two weeks ago, again in Benghazi, gunmen attacked his son, Muftah, in what was thought to be an attack on the family as a whole.
The death of Buhulaiga who had supported the revolution from the start, is seen as a massive loss for the government and the forces of law and order in the country.
The Zawia Martyrs Brigade has been the main state military presence in Sirte but has come under increasing pressure from Ansar Al-Sharia which, with a base nearby, has also established itself as a force in the town. Till now, though, the Zawia Martyrs Brigade had managed to keep it under control.
Libya has the highest traffic accident death rate in the world. It has been estimated that someone is 14 times more likely to die in a car in Libya than in the UK. [/restrict]