By Libya Herald reporters.
Tunis, 19 April 2017:
The Benghazi Defence Brigades has refuted UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ claim to the Security Council that it is a “coalition of Islamist armed groups” and insisted t his statement was misleading and distorted the facts.
“We do not have any links or affiliations to any political, organisational or ideological parties inside or outside Libya” said the BDB in a statement carried by the Bushra News Agency on its social media site.
The BDB said in an open letter to Guterres that its past statements had been “clear, unambiguous and revealed our humanitarian goals and just demands.”
It insisted that the BDB was made up of Revolutionary fighters and soldiers from Cyrenaica who were merely fighting to return to their homes in Benghazi
It said: “We united for the sake of lifting the injustice and oppression imposed on us by the militias of the war criminal Hafter.”
Guterres had this month described that BDB as an “Islamist coalition” in his half-yearly Security Council report when he mentioned that it had briefly seized Sidra and Ras Lanuf. He went on to note that after heavy air strikes the Libyan National Army (LNA) had retaken control of the two export terminals but more than 40 people, including some civilians, had been killed in the raids.
The BDB told Guterres “ We are also fighting terrorism in all its shapes and forms”. It claimed that the secretary-general had failed to note that after it had taken Sidra and Ras Lanuf, it had handed control of the terminals to the Petroleum Facilities Guard which was working with the internationally-recognised Presidency Council.
The BDB also said that Gueterres had ignored what it described as Hafter’s violation of human rights “including the murder of the elderly and women as well as unarmed young people in the streets of Benghazi without trial.”
In the BDB’s view Guterres’ report reflected “that some sides in the UN mission in Libya are supporting the war criminal Hafter and his coup project to impose a new dictator on Libya.”
It therefore refuted the idea that its fight against Hafter was that of an Islamist group against “the army”.
The BDB ended its letter insisting “ Our fight is for liberty, freedom and the safe return to our city with our displaced families”
The BDB is led by Mustafa Sharksi, a militia commander in Misrata during the Revolution. Its claim to have no affiliation is at odds with its declaration last year of loyalty to Sheikh Sadek Ghariani, head of Tripoli’s Dar Al-Ifta.