By Libya Herald reporter.
Benghazi, 18 February 2016:
The law finally caught up with a mafia-type gang which has brought terror to Benghazi’s . . .[restrict]West Salmani district for months. Two members of the family gang were arrested when the army and the counter-crime agency (CCA) today attacked and captured their home in which an arsenal of weapons was discovered. In the operation, however, three members of the gang managed to escape, including its leader, and two members of the CCA were wounded in the assault, one seriously.
The other took a shot in the leg and is being treated in Jalaa hospital.
It is alleged that the gang had managed carve out a fiefdom for themselves in West Salami, carrying out robberies and kidnappings with impunity, and demanding 10 dinars a day from local shops as protection money and threatening anyone who refused to pay. It is also claimed they set up roadblocks in the area, robbing drivers whom they stopped. One local man told the Libya Herald today that he had been stopped at one and had his car plus LD 1,900 in cash stolen.
There are also reports of people who refused to cooperate being murdered in cold blood.
Matters came to head yesterday when locals decided to take the matter into their own hands after one of the gang had gone to a local gold shop, demanded money and had then beaten up the owner who had refused to pay. His family joined forces with that of another man reportedly shot dead by the gang a couple of weeks ago when he refused to hand his car to them.
Following a small shootout at the gang’s home, army and CCA units arrived and surrounded the place, ordering the family to surrender. They refused and in the end, early this morning, the house was stormed.
Questions are now being asked how the family managed to act with impunity for so long, and why the army or CCA did nothing about them. There are allegations that they were being protected.
Tonight though, although three members managed to escape, there is a sense of peace in West Salmani. [/restrict]