By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 1 March 2014:
The head of the military council in Sirte, Makhlouf Ben Nasser Al-Ferjani, was shot dead . . .[restrict]this morning. According to the Libyan news agency LANA, gunmen opened fire on him and then fled.
The deputy commander of one of the military forces in the town, Infantry Battalion No. 136, was also quoted saying that gunmen in a Chevrolet with tinted windows sprayed the street in front of the Sirte Security Directorate with bullets, killing him instantly.
Ali Sadiq nonetheless vowed that the killers would be found and arrested.
It is suggested that Qaddafi loyalists might be responsible.
There had been at least two previous attempts to kill Ferjani, who was also commander of the Qardabiya Martyrs Unit – in November 2012 and then on 7 March last year.
The November attempt came just a month after disturbances in Sirte in which, Ferjani told the Libya Herald at the time, he had arrested a number of Qaddafi supporters.
Last March, a massive nail bomb full was found under his office window at the town’s Ibn Sina Hospital and diffused. The Qardabiya Martyrs Unit were providing security for the hospital.
Sirte is seen as the third most dangerous place in the country after Benghazi and Derna. There have been numerous murders there as well as clashes between between Misratis resident there and members of the Qadhadhfa tribe.
In January, the Deputy Minister of Industry, Hassan Al-Daroue, himself from Sirte, was also shot dead there. Again, the finger was pointed at former regime sympathisers although no evidence to that effect has been produced.
The previous month an official from the passports office was murdered by gunmen.
Following the death in December in a road accident of Colonel Salah Buhulaiga, the commander of the Zawia Martyrs Brigade which was tasked with ensuring security in the town, Ferjani was regarded as Sirte’s leading military figure.
Ansar Al-Sharia is seen as a growing force in the town. [/restrict]