The Qirnada prison lies to the north-east of Libya's second largest city, Benghazi, and it holds a number of individuals known to be extremists.
Hundreds of imprisoned individuals accused of having links with terrorist groups such as ISIS are being kept at the Qirnada military prison. The prison is managed by General Jalal Abd al-Hakim, who has allowed access for a press team to enter the prison and film from inside.
“The importance of their presence in prison is to stop harm to Libyan society in general and to limit the implementation and expansion of their [terrorist] activities. Regionally, [we are] protecting the Arab world and the neighbouring states and preventing harm to the international community”, stated General Jalal Abd al-Hakim.
One of the prisoners who is known to be a former militant belonging to ISIS speaks of his experience for the terrorist group, recounting how he trained 15-25 year-old males to use light weapons. It is known that ISIS has trained and brainwashed young men, and even children, to fight for their cause. Children taken advantage by ISIS who force them to join their ranks have been commonly dubbed by the group as “Cubs of the Caliphate”.
“Anyone who tries to belong to any terrorist group or tries to destabilize security, especially in Libya, should know that there are trials and punishments. In addition, some of those who were arrested, were interrogated, brought to justice, and sentenced”, warned General Abd al-Hakim.
The presence of extremist groups in the north-east of Libya, including ISIS, has been known for a number of years. In recent times, the Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar, has combated against these extremist groups and has claimed many of the territories previously under the control of those groups.
Nevertheless, there are fears and signs of a resurgence by groups such as ISIS in Libya. International figures have stated that Libya could be a potential new hot spot for ISIS recruitment following the group’s demise in Syria and Iraq.