The Presidency Council (PC) of the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord led by PM Faiez Serraj, has condemned the murder of 12 former Gadaffi soldiers. The soldiers were just released last week by a court.
The PC ordered a formal investigation into the murders to find out what exactly happened and who was responsible.
At first, twitter was filled with all sorts of different accounts with some even thinking that it was simply a rumor spread by pro-Gadaffi outlets. However, there are now reports both by the Libya Observer and the Libya Herald that agree on many aspects of what happened including the figure of 12 bodies being found. Earlier accounts were as high as 17.
A press conference was held by a spokesperson for the Attorney General's office. He confirmed that 12 bodies were discovered yesterday. Six in Wadi Rabie near Ain Zara. Three had been thrown from a moving vehicle near the morgue at Tripoli Central Hospital, and a final three thrown in the same way near the morgue at the Tripoli Medical Center.
All 12 had been shot in the head according to a forensic doctor. The bodies showed signs of torture. There were another seven soldiers who were also ordered released but their whereabouts are not known.
The killings are worsening the political situation for the GNA and presidential council as it has legitimized a number of militia. It is believed militia were involved. Ali Gatrani a member of the PC also blamed the PC for creating the conditions for the murders to happen but claimed that he should not be blamed since he has been boycotting the PC. He suggested that the soldiers were killed in jail.
However, Ali Al-Saadi who is head of the prison where most of the soldiers were incarcerated claims that after the court decision the prisoners were released into their families' care and had left the prison with them. Strange that there are as yet no reports as to what family members of those murdered have to say about what might have happened. The prisoners were killed the same day they were released. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General(SRSG), Martin Kobler, also condemned the killings.
The former soldiers killed and seven others had been accused of killing demonstrators in February of 2011. Families of the protesters who had been killed filed a lawsuit against the soldiers who were part of the Revolutionary Work Team. The suit accused them of murder and torture. The case went to court in 2014 and took two years to adjudicate. A judge issued a resolution that all be released although their passports were to be handed over to the AG's office which the families did upon which the AG ordered them released. It remains unclear exactly what happened after that.
Supporters of commander in chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA), Khalifa Haftar, will no doubt claim that the killings show that Haftar is correct that the militia need to be disbanded and that the GNA is at the mercy of the various militia it supports. He wants to remain commander in chief of the army within the GNA, but the Libyan Political Agreement gives the role of commander in chief to the PC until a new commander is appointed.