By Farah Waleed.
Tripoli, 22 January 2015:
Ansar Al-Sharia claims to have set up a Shoura Council of Revolutionaries in Beida, the seat . . .[restrict]of both the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Al-Thinni and the Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA). The aim, it says, is to break local support for Khalifa Hafter’s Operation Dignity and establish its own control over the town.
“The town has recently witnessed a wave of kidnappings, assassinations, theft of public money and the return of former regime figures”, Ansar said in a statement released yesterday.
It also claimed that the shortage of cooking gas and power cuts that have hit the entire east of the country were planned and carried out by former regime figures. It further alleged there was a deliberate shortage of flour and that the aim was to “subjugate” Beida’s residents.
It warned that everyone involved in such crimes would be target by the Shoura Council until the town changed its loyalities.
“To the people of Beida and the people of Beida suburbs, you must stop supporting the Operation Dignity that has brought hatred to Libyan brothers,” Ansar explained.
“We are with you and you will see what will make you happy,” Ansar promised all Libyans in the statement, adding that it was working with the Shoura Council of Revolutionaries of Benghazi and of Derna.
The claims that Beida has been hit by kidnappings and assassinations do not tally with reality. The town is remarkably peaceful and law abiding, especially by Libyan standards. Police are noticeable on the streets and directing traffic, which moves calmly and unlike some other towns and cities all stops at the traffic lights.
There has, however, been a massive rise in the population as a result of refugees arriving from Benghazi and Derna.
Beida has seen a number of attacks in recent months, but all have been blamed on Ansar and its allies.
In November, five soldiers were reported killed in a suicide attack on the nearby Labraq airport. In September a gelatina bomb was thrown under a car near the CDA building but no one was injured. Three months before that a car bomb exploded outside the CDA, causing extensive damage and some injuries.