By Houda Mzioudet.
Tripoli, 30 March 2014:
Following yesterday morning’s abduction of a Suq Al-Juma family of six allegedly by . . .[restrict]men from the Warshefana area, the kidnapping of two other people yesterday by the Warshefana has escalated animosity towards the tribe in Suq Al-Juma, Tajoura and other parts of the capital.
The city’s important Triq Al Sikka (Railway Road) which runs past the Prime Minister’s Office was blocked off for much of the day by forces from Suq Al-Juma and Tajoura protesting the abductions, causing traffic chaos elsewhere in the capital.
Such is the suspicion of the Warshefana at present that today’s murder of Hisham Bishr, brother of former SSC leader Hashim Bishr, both from Suq Al-Juma, has been widely and unquestioningly attributed to them despite the lack of evidence.
The two men kidnapped yesterday were employees at Biotechnology Centre at Twesha, south of Tripoli. According to its director, Nabil Nattah, Warshefana men armed with weapons arrived in seven cars, including a police vehicle, and stormed the centre at 12.30 pm. They demanded to know who was from Suq Al-Juma and Tajoura before grabbing the two members of staff (who were from neither place) and leaving, he told the Libya Herald.
It appears that the abduction and that of the Suq Al-Juma family are related to last Tuesday’s exchange of prisoners between Suq Al-Juma and the Warshefana.
“One Warshefana man was not among those released, because he was not part of the prisoner exchange agreement between Suq Al-Juma and Warshefana,” Nattah explained. “He [the Warshefana man] is in fact being held by the Counter Crime Agency and not by Suq Al-Juma”, he added.
Indirect negotiations with the abductors to secure the release of the two employee started almost immediately through the efforts of the Warshefana Council of Elders and others from Gharyan, Sebha and the east of the country, Nattah said.
“Warshefana community members expressed their regret about what has happened,” he stated.
Warshefana resentment appears to have been further aggravated over the imprisonment of a Warshefana man with criminal record in Suq Al-Juma. “He was supposed to have been referred to the prosecutor to get a fair trial” said Al-Hadi Abugrayn, a member of Warshefana Council of Elders that brokered the prisoner exchange.
“It was the latter’s nephew, who went to the centre and seized the two employees, he told the Libya Herald.
Abugrayn, stressed that his council would continue their efforts to to secure the release of the two men but demanded those holding the Warshefana man to hand him over to the public prosecutor.
Abugrayn claimed that according to the man’s family who visited him in custody, he had been tortured.
“It is unacceptable that he has been held up for four months without being referred to any judicial authority,” Abugrayn declared.
He nonetheless denounced the abduction of the two employees saying that those responsible did not represent Warshefana.
The Warshefana clan of Awlad Tillis was holding the two, he said. Twenty-five members from other Warshefana clans had gone to the clan to negotiate their release.
“We formed a delegation from each group to put pressure on the Awlad Tillis to release the prisoners or else social cover will be lifted from them,” he explained. “The group will not be protected by the rest of Warshefana.”