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Monday, August 22, 2016

Libyan militia group demands new intelligence head before giving up seized buildings

Even though the Libyan Government of National Accord's(GNA) intelligence headquarters was seized back on August 14th, the GNA and the UN are silent on the issue.

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The raids by the Tripoli Revolutionary Brigades (TRB) headed by Haitham Tajouri were reported by several sources including Digital Journal. A recent tweet indicates that the TRB are still in control of their headquarters: "‏@SamiBerriwen #Libya | Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade says won't hand over Intelligence agency HQs unless new chief appointed." The GNA intelligence headquarters has been occupied for four days but the government seems not to have noticed. The UN's Special Representative of the Secretary General, Martin Kobler, has said nothing about the issue though he had time to tweet condolences to the families of those killed in an Islamic State suicide attack today.
Mohammed Nuh was thought to be visiting Turkey when the attack happened. A member of the State Council of the GNA, Belgasim Igzit, demanded that the Presidential Council (PC) of the GNA clarify its position "regarding the bad-reputation militia that are messing around the capital, Tripoli." He said that the GNA needs to inspect its security preparations that are very fragile. He said political parties could not work in the capital without the threat of extortion or even abduction. Apparently some intelligence personnel were kidnapped in the recent raids. Igzit said: "Libyans refuse the fact that the UN-proposed government is at the mercy of the militias no matter to which party they belong, so the Presidential Council must come to grips with this fact.”
The Libya Observer even remarks that it is not clear whether the act was coordinated with the PC or whether it was an individual act. It seems bizarre that the PC should approve the seizing of its own intelligence headquarters.
The Libya Herald reports that over last weekend, Tajouri, head of the TRB was targeted for assassination. Apparently an attack was made on a TRB post at the Mitiga airport. The attack was said to have been made by the Al Buni brigade whose leader is an ally of intelligence chief Nuh. It is not clear whether the attack was before or after Tajouri seized Nuh's intelligence headquarters. The Libya Herald understands that the attack was the day before Tajouri's raids. The report also said that Tajouri accused Nuh of bribery to advance his personal ambitions that was disrupting normal operation of the intelligence organization. A TRB statement also claimed that intelligence officer Joudet Al-Khadar also had been using bribes to induce colleagues to spy for "foreign countries". The statementconcluded: “We are ready to hand over all the administration buildings once the Presidency Council has assigned a new intelligence head in accordance with the Libyan Political Agreement”. These events show how completely out of control militia groups are in Tripoli. The GNA appears to be ignoring what is happening and doing nothing to rectify the situation.


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