Rogue militias challenge Libyan state security
By Essam Mohamed in Tripoli for Magharebia – 08/04/2013
Tripoli's Abu Slim police station was blown up and set alight last Thursday (April 4th) in just one of the latest incidents highlighting security challenges to the Libyan state.
The police post was assaulted by gunmen who tied up the guards and freed two prisoners. Three other prisoners refused to flee.
The incident came a day after Zintan resident and accused murderer Abdul Raouf Ramah was handed over to police in Abu Slim, following the justice minister's instructions to hand prisoners over to state judicial authorities. While he was on his way to the public prosecutor, the police car was attacked by an armed group that opened fire on the policemen and beat them.
Police Col. Juma al-Meshri said that the armed group tied up seven policemen at the station, took away their three rifles and burnt the files of lawsuits and police citations.
Sami al-Mariami of the security committee in Abu Slim said that the police station was completely burnt. He noted that the group poured gasoline around the building and burnt all police citations, except for one belonging to defendant Ramah and two Kalashnikovs that were kept in a safe which they couldn't open.
Meanwhile on Friday, gunmen opened fire at the Abu Slim hospital. Workers at the hospital left their posts after the attack, with the exception of the operating and emergency room employees.
The assailants killed one man in the intensive care unit, with bullets to his head and side. They then tore apart his side using glass.
Hashem Bashar, head of the Supreme Security Committee, Tripoli branch, issued a statement in which he demanded Justice Minister Salah Marghani explain his ministry's capabilities to take over responsibility for prisons.
He said that the ministry was not yet ready to take over supervision of all prisons because there were many security threats.
"Although two years have elapsed since the declaration of Libya's liberation, we haven't seen any serious step or any visible efforts by the justice minister, decision-makers or members of the judiciary about these prisons," he said.
"Cleansing the judiciary before activating it and dismissing the symbols of corruption in it is the most important demand after the success of the February 17th revolution," he added.
He also called upon the justice minister and decision-makers in the judiciary to deal with the revolutionaries with a spirit of consultation and co-operation.
"The most important thing for us is how to avoid a clash between the government and the revolutionaries and not to exclude the revolutionaries under the pretext of legitimacy," said Mahasen Beshir, a teacher.
But even as some urge a slow pace to security reforms, attacks continue against vital installations across Libya.
Two pipelines leading to the Zueitina oil terminal near Ajdabiya were blown up on April 2nd, according to Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC). There were no human losses, according to Abul Qasim Shinghir, acting NOC president.
The blast was deliberate and caused by an RPG, said Muftah Saad Bouhriq, commander of the Ajdabiya 1st Reconnaissance Brigade.
In his turn, journalist Abdelkrim al-Raqie said that the loss was "huge and shouldn't just be allowed to pass by".
"If it was a sabotage operation, the disaster will be greater because the state hasn't yet imposed its control on important places, especially economic facilities," he added.
Journalist Fatima al-Mariami said, "Unfortunately, there have been repeated acts of sabotage in Libya, and this time, they affected the oil and gas pipelines in Zueitina."
"We haven't seen the interim Libyan government dealing firmly with such violations against state institutions or private properties," she added. "Therefore, we can say that it is encouraging others to carry out the same acts of sabotage and chaos that affect Libya's interests first and then citizens' interests."
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