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State-recognized militia clashes in Ajilat lead to civilian deaths – expose continued weakness of state

Three days of state-recognized militia clashes last week in and around the western city of Ajilat, 90 km west of Tripoli, have led to at least eight deaths, including innocent civilians, Libyan media reports. The clashes were between a Zawia and an Ajilat based militia – both state recognized.

The clashes continued to expose the real weakness of the Libyan state, the lack of rule of law and the inability of the state to stop the clashes for about three days.

The clashes were led by Mohamed Salem Bahroon, nicknamed the ‘‘Far’’ (the mouse), who is the head of Zawia Criminal Investigation Department, and Mohamed Barka, nicknamed the ‘‘Shalfooh’’, who is a member of the Stability Support Agency led by Gnewa Kikly.

The Zawia militia has been accused of burning and looting property and acts of retribution as it imposed its control on a local security point and controlled the city centre. Some shops were forced to close on Saturday and Sunday.

The government and Presidency Council came in for much criticism for failing to use force to quell the fighting from the beginning.

The Attorney General held a meeting with several security and judicial stakeholders

The Attorney General, Sideeg Al-Sour, held a meeting with several security and judicial stakeholders as well as notables from the area in his office yesterday describing it as a meeting ‘‘dealing with the thorny issue of the security chaos in the city of Ajilat and the nearby cities and regions’’.

During the meeting he revealed complaints and reports of ‘‘criminal acts that affect human safety, body and money, and crimes against the national economy, such as murder, war, kidnapping, enforced disappearance, torture, destruction of public and private property and smuggling of fuel’’.

He referred to security in the Ajilat area as ‘‘deficient’’. He said this requires the introduction of a police force into the city of Ajilat without delay to implement preventive to stop commission of any serious human rights violations due to revenge or seeking to create chaos.

The Attorney General demanded the creation of an effective operational framework (a security plan) in which the elements of the western military region and the elements of the Tripoli military region participate to work to limit any violations and damage resulting from irresponsible acts.

This would also implement the orders of the Attorney General’s office to arrest the wanted persons for the Public Prosecution and prosecute the convict and those in pretrial detention who escaped from the prison during the past year.

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