Politics & Economics

Libya: Sarraj Dissolves 'Special Deterrence Force'

North Africa

Fayez al-Sarraj, the Head of the Presidential Council of the Government of National Accord (GNA), replaces the Special Deterrence Force with a new unit called Deterrence Anti-Organized Crime and Terrorism Apparatus.

Head of Presidential Council of Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, dissolved the Special Deterrence Force (SDF) of the Interior Ministry, and ordered the formation of Deterrence Anti-Organized Crime and Terrorism Apparatus.

“All SDF belongings will be taken over by the new apparatus, which will be based in Tripoli as well, with other offices to be announced later,” the order says.

The order described the apparatus’s work as “combating organized crime and terrorism and monitoring social media”.

This came after head of Audit Bureau, Khaled Shakshak, accused Gnewa al-Kakli armed militia of the Central Security in Abu Salim in Tripoli, of kidnapping Audit Bureau member, Ahmed Mohamed al-Amami.

Shakshak said in his communique to Libya’s Attorney General indicating the militia kidnapped Amami from his home on April 29. He asked the prosecutor to investigate him and take the necessary measures.

Shakshak said that the kidnapping of his colleague is to “pressure the Bureau to pass financial transactions related to security and military that are still under examination and research”.

The apparatus will be part of the security plan of the capital issued by the interior ministry, besides being committed to state strategies regarding fighting thieves and smugglers, not to mention securing elections, official events and nonofficial ones licensed to take place in Tripoli.

“There will be a use of technology as well in tracking down criminal networks and outlaws by exchanging information with sate departments responsible for fighting terror threats,” stated the order.

According to the interior ministry, this new apparatus will have its own annual budget from the government.

The agency will also collect information, data, and investigate individuals, criminal and terrorist groups, as well as monitor social networking sites, propose plans to thwart terrorist activities. It will cooperate with relevant authorities in combating drugs and drug trafficking gangs, and uncover money laundry operations.

Parliamentarians from the eastern region of Libya accused the government of neglecting the abuses committed against citizens by “extorting, arresting and imprisoning them.”

Member of Parliament Mohammed Amer told Asharq Al-Awsat that poor security system in Tripoli led to the formation of these militias.

Kidnappings and forced disappearances in Tripoli are growing amid accusations that armed militias controlling the capital are responsible for that, including the al-Nawasi Brigades led by Qaddour family, Tripoli rebels led by Haitham al-Tajouri, Special Deterrence Force led by Abdel Raouf Kara, and Abu Salim unit.

Head of Presidential Council of GNA dissolved the 33rd Infantry Battalion of the Tripoli Military District, headed by Bashir Khalafallah, nicknamed “al-Buqarah”, following extensive armed clashes with the “Deterrence Force” in the vicinity of Mitiga International Airport.

Clashes lasted several days aiming to free prisoners from a jail controlled by SDF inside the airport. In a previous statement, the Presidential Council described them as “militants affiliated with ISIS and al-Qaeda.”

Journalist Suleiman Qashout and his colleague Mohammed Yaacoubi have been held by the Special Deterrent Force since last month.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said many “several armed groups, including the SDF, nominally operate under the GNA’s Interior Ministry. But the authorities appear unable to rein in these groups or to hold their commanders to account for abuses.”

A United Nations report on detentions in Libya, published in April, described “grave human rights violations at the Mitiga facility, such as prolonged arbitrary and incommunicado detention, torture, prolonged solitary confinement, inhumane detention conditions, deaths in custody, and summary executions.”

Image: Asharq al-Awsat

Article: Asharq al-Awsat