Clashes in Emsalata after IS suspect arrested

By Ajnadin Mustafa.

Tripoli, 18 August 2016:

There were clashes today in the far eastern Jebel Nafusa town of Emsalata between the local military council forces and a group intent of freeing an alleged Islamic State (IS) supporter, arrested after he had arrived from Benghazi for a family wedding.

Aiman Abdullah is reported to have been detained three days ago at a checkpoint to the south of Ensalata near the area inhabited by the Shaafyin tribe. He was arrested by members of the military council who had been tipped off about his presence in the area. It is claimed that after his arrest, photos of IS members in both Benghazi and Sirte were found on his mobile phone.

Members of the Shaafyin tribe to whom he is related then went to the military council to demand Abdullah’s release. However, he was not there and the head of the council Abdulrahman Al-Safih has reportedly denied any knowledge of his whereabouts.

In response two days ago, the Shaafyin allegedly kidnapped three members of the military council’s forces, including Abdulrahman Al-Safih’s brother, saying that they would not release them until Abdullah was free. The military council, however, then detained Abubakr Rajab Khalifa, another member of the Shaafyin tribe.

With clashes today, local elders have been trying to find a way to calm the situation.

Last year there were allegations by officials in Tripoli that Emsalata had become a growing centre of IS activity.

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