By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 10 November 2014:
Following the destruction of Tripoli’s iconic Gazelle fountain a week ago, purportedly by Islamists, a historic statue of Libyan freedom fighter Omar Mukhtar has now also vanished. It disappeared on Saturday night.
According to an official within Libya’s Antiquities Authority, the thieves have not yet been identified. However, there is much chatter on social media alleging that Libya Dawn supporters were involved.
The statue, which sat in front of the offices of the May Municipal Council of Maya, west of Janzour, was a tribute to Omar Mukhtar who led resistance to the Italian colonialists in Cyrenaica during the 1920s.
Over the past month, vandals have vandalised and destroyed a number of Sufi monuments and mosques, including the Othman Pasha Madrasa and the Dargouth, Shaib Al-Ain, Karamali and Shara Mizran mosques.
Known as the “Lion of the Desert” for his skill in the strategies and tactics of desert warfare, Mukhtar holds a position of great honour in Libya, where many streets are named after him, and his picture is found on the 10 dinar bill. Ironically, those who vandalised his statue are, albeit unknowingly, have followed in the footsteps of Qaddafi. In 2002, he destroyed Omar Mukhtar’s mausoleum in Benghazi because he feared and resented the attachment locals had to the memory of the leader. [/restrict]