Wanted ISIS Operatives in Bashagha’s Interior Ministry – Al Marsad

A MiG-23 aircraft belonging to the Air Force of the Libyan National Army (LNA), crashed south of al-Zawiya after it was hit over Tripoli and its pilot survived but fell in captivity, while the Libyan National Army General Command said a technical problem caused the crash of the warplane.

[Libya, 8 December 2019] – The warplane was initially claimed to be piloted by a Russian “atheist”mercenary pilot. However, it was later learned that Major General Amer al-Jagam al-Ourfi was the one who was piloting the MiG-23 aircraft. The pilot who is from the city of al-Marj in eastern Libya, survived the plane crash; he managed to jump by parachute but fell in captivity to an armed group affiliated with the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA).

The armed group that captured the LNA pilot was led by a person called Mohamed Salem Bahroun, known as Al-Faar, Arabic for “The Mouse”. Bahroun was awarded the rank of first lieutenant as a grade without studying at the Police Academy.

Al Bahroun is dressed in a white shirt next to Major General Amer al-Jagam al-Ourfi

Bahroun is wanted by the Attorney General for his ties to the Islamic State

Following the capture of the pilot, the GNA-affiliated armed group known as First Division (ISNAD), attempted to humiliate the pilot, Major General Amer al-Ourfi, by taking selfies and mocking photos with their mobile phones. The appearance of these people in an official headquarters bearing the insignia of the Ministry of the Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA) puts its minister, Fathi Bashagha, in an incriminating position.

In addition to Mohamed Bahroun’s association with smuggling and organized crime gangs, he is number 6 on the wanted list of the General Prosecutor since October 2017 in a case related to support and link to ISIS. This case, known as (131 of 2017) goes back to the arrest of a group of the Islamic State. Bahroun refused to surrender himself to the Public Prosecution in Tripoli, according to a letter issued through the Director of Zawiya Security Directorate, Ali Al-Lafi, who is loyal to this group. Al Marsad obtained a copy of this letter:

The arrest warrant issued by the Public Prosecutor against Mohamed Bahron, nicknamed “The Mouse”

Bahroun is considered among the criminals wanted elements by the Public Prosecution based on the instructions of the Head of the Investigation Division of the Public Prosecutor’s Office, pending the case registered in Souq-al-Jumaa district regarding the incident of arresting an armed group belonging to ISIS in the city of Sabratha, and based on the confessions of the arrested ISIS operatives. In the case of ISIS in Sabratha, who confirmed that Bahroun is one of the elements who cooperated with the organization and provided logistical services to them and assisted them to escape and also harboured them.

Abdullah Al-Dabbashi

In addition to other security-related cases, Bahroun is wanted by the prosecution in several cases of smuggling, killing and kidnapping. It should be noted that the most wanted in the Case 131 is the internationally-sanctioned and locally wanted, the ringleader of human trafficking and fuel smuggling in the western region coast, Ahmed Al-Dabbashi, known as Al-Amo. He is a relative of the leader of the organization, Abdullah Al-Dabbashi, whose name was also mentioned during the investigations. After appearing in the photos with the captive pilot, Major General Al-Ourfi, in civilian clothes in the usual flamboyant militia style, disheveled hair and mimicking pranks, Bahroun returned and showed up in another photo with the pilot in the official uniform of the General Security Directorate—which indicates that he reports until now to the Ministry of the Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA). The appearance of Bahroun puts the credibility of Fathi Bashagha’s statements, on combating militias and terrorists and those he describes as intruders in the security sector, to a major test outside Libya, especially after his recent statements.

Confessions of his Comrades Confirm his Affiliation with ISIS

Evidence of the Bahroun’s association with ISIS could be found in confessions of his comrades in the organization, including Ahmed Salem Al-Falah known as Abu Al-Laith Al-Libi, and Ahmed Mesbah Jaber, who are members of the ISIS cell in the city of Sabratha, who managed to escape from the city  and were arrested later in the western coastal city of al-Zawiya by the Salafist Battalion in the city, Katibet Subul al-Salam, which in turn handed them over to the Special Deterrence Force (RADA) in March 2016. RADA then disseminated their confessions where members of the detained group turned against each other in their documented confessions RADA. Since that time, all of them have been on RADA’s wanted list.

Ahmed Sassi

It is strange today that those who shot down the MiG-23 aircraft, according to several news dispatches, are members of a detachment that reports to the Special Deterrence Force (RADA) in Tripoli, while the opponents of the RADA were the elements who arrested the pilot after his warplane crashed in al-Zawiya. The opponents of RADA associated with ISIS, such as Bahroun, appeared in the official headquarters of the Ministry of Interior. These photos will undoubtedly anger RADA, a force entrusted by the GNA Ministry of the Interior with carrying out arrest warrants for the criminals, the wanted, and the convicts in criminal cases. They would prefer to see wanted people behind bars rather than in selfie photos posted on Facebook pages. The Minister of the Interior of the Government of National Accord (GNA) is now facing a critical situation because he must answer questions regarding the legitimacy of their subordination to the Ministry of the Interior, which he heads. They appeared on Facebook pages in an official office bearing the logo of the Ministry of the Interior.

A video explaining Al-Falah’s confessions from within the Prison of the Special Deterrence Force (RADA), in which he mentioned the name of Bahroun as one of those involved in the organization:

Jaber has admitted that Bahroun and his companions belonged to ISIS, and that he had pledged allegiance and vowed obedience to the organization’s leaders, and submitted it to the killed emir of the organization, Abdallah al-Dabbashi, aka Abu Maria.  Bahroun’s mock participation in the clashes against ISIS in Sabratha was a cover up for his alleged assistance to ISIS fighters to help them escape from the city in armored militia cars.

Here is a video of the confessions of Ahmed Jaber and others:

In his confessions, Ahmad Sassi Al-Falah confirmed that after defeating the ISIS operatives in the city of Sabratha, the emir of the organization instructed a number of ISIS fighters, namely Ahmed Sassi Al-Falah, Safwan Jaber, Ali Mesbah Jaber, Muhammad Sassi Al-Falah, and Ahmed Kamal Al-Touati to withdraw from the city, and that he coordinated with a person called Mohamed Bahroun who was supposed to secure their way to the city of al-Zawiya; the same person who appeared above in the selfie photo with the captive pilot.

A picture from a previous war, Mohamed Bahroun with the fuel smuggler Firas al-Wahshi

On May 15, an air strike targeted the extremist Al-Farouq Battalion camp in the city of Zawiya. The wanted terrorist, Safwan Jaber, a member of ISIS, was killed in the air raid. Jaber was on the wanted list of the Special Deterrence Force (RADA) in Tripoli and the LNA Sabratha Operations Room. Jaber was hiding out during the past years before it became clear that he was still at large in the city of Zawiya, where he worked and resided at the headquarters of the Al-Farouq Battalion.

It is worth noting that Mohamed Bahroun had sent a letter in his name and with his signature, on the official letterhead and with the seal of the GNA Ministry of the Interior, to the President of the Presidential Council, Fayez al-Sarraj, asking the GNA Chairman to assign him to secure the coastal road and to instruct the Presidential Guard of Fayez al-Sarraj to cooperate with Bahroun’s group after his group’s armed attack on the presidential guard stationed west of the city of al-Zawiya. This is another case added to his criminal record.

Letter from Mohamed Bahroun to the head of the GNA Fayez Al-Sarraj

© Al Marsad English (2019)