Serraj suspends Barghathi over the Brak Al-Shatti massacre

By Moutaz Ali.

Mahdi Al Barghathi

Mahdi Al Barghathi (file photo)

Tripoli, 19 May 2017:

Presidency Council (PC) head Faeiz Serraj has suspended his defence minister, Mahdi Al-Barghathi over the massacre yesterday in Brak Al-Shatti.

Most of the Misratan forces responsible were operating under Barghathi’s control, although a statement by his ministry insists he gave no orders to carry out the attack.

The PC has set up a committee to investigate what happened in Brak where dozens of Libyan National Army soldiers were killed, most of them in extra-judicial executions.

Serraj has appointed his justice minister, Mohamed Abdulwahid as the head of the investigation committee with support from interior minister Aref Khoja.

It has been given 15 days to ascertain what happened and Barghathi will remain suspended during the period.

Serraj has also suspended the Jamal Al-Treiki who heads the 13th Brigade (formerly the Third Force) which has admitted its role is the Brak attack. It is unclear, however, whether this can be enforced and what little control the PC has over Treiki’s fighters.

The PC head has also prohibited all forces under his command from undertaking any military operations, except those in self-defence.

As to the Benghazi Defence Brigades, which was also involved in the massacre and has likewise effectively admitted it, while it is has developed close ties to Barghathi, it is a law to itself and certainly does not recognise the PC’s authority.

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