Libya: Benghazi On the Brink
Benghazi — It happens every day in Benghazi: a car bomb or an unknown gunman kills someone in the military, law enforcement or the judicial system – and citizens want it to end.
“People are angry with the government’s failure to provide security,” political analyst Salim al-Ragie said.
As education ministry employee Ahmed Saleh Bouakeula noted, “Many activists, officers and leaders of this revolution were killed and its symbols were hit hard.”
“Unfortunately, we haven’t yet seen a sincere intention to build an army or police. On the contrary, we hear about bombings targeting security, especially in Benghazi,” he said.
“It looks as if extremists and all those who have a vested interest in this mess are saying ‘no’ to security and army in Libya,” he added.
Military prosecutor Youssef al-Asaifar was the latest assassination target when a car bomb killed him last Thursday.
“A whole year has passed since the attack on the US embassy and the security situation in Libya is still suffering,” Bouakeula told Magharebia.
As the first anniversary of the attack on the US diplomatic outpost in Benghazi draws near, insecurity plagues Libya’s second city and perpetrators of bombings and assassinations go unpunished.
No one has been convicted for the September 11th, 2012 siege left four Americans dead, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens. And while former Ansar al-Sharia militia leader Ahmed Boukhtala has been charged by the US in connection with the attack, he remains free in Libya.
Likewise, those behind scores of political assassinations in town have not yet been identified.
Mohamed Hijazi, former spokesperson for Benghazi Joint Security Room, attributed the “security swamp and irreparable security deterioration” to the failure of the government and General National Congress (GNC) to adequately support the military and security agencies.
“We in the security chamber were put in front and they blocked the necessary financial support,” he added. “We also lack equipment and supplies.”
“They quickly squandered 900 million dinars on the Shields, while our salaries were delayed,” he noted.
He blamed the “misguided takfirist groups”, who accuse army and police of kufr, for the 68 assassinations in town, mostly of army commanders.
Benghazi is also “teeming with weapons”, writer Mohamed al-Asfar noted.
“But the police don’t have any capabilities and the former army is unprofessional and doesn’t know how to help the nation,” he said.
Things are sometimes too unbearable, he said, for even resilient Benghazi residents to tolerate.
“Benghazi needs strong police to run security based on professional, scientific methods without intervention in politics and without centralisation,” he said.
For her part, rights activist Abrika Baltimar blamed the government and GNC for the security crisis in Benghazi.
“The commandos who were tasked with securing the city haven’t succeeded because they haven’t yet been given the necessary capabilities or powers,” she said.