Hours after Bashagha’s Letter to Remove its Commanders, ISNAD Announces the Seizure of Weapons of Alleged Terrorist Cell – Al Marsad

Hours after Bashagha’s letter on alleged procedures against violations committed by the armed groups in Zawiya in his correspondence with the Head of al-Zawiya Security Directorate, Brigadier Ali Al-Lafi, it seems that the GNA Minister of Interior’s PR stunt letter has no effect whatsoever on the ground in the western coastal city of al-Zawiya. In his letter to Brigadier Ali Al-Lafi, Bashagha ordered an investigation into human rights abuses and “the exploitation and utilization of the Ministry of Interior of the Government of National Accord in acts violating the rights of detainees and prisoners,” and called for “considering the restructuring of the First Division (ISNAD), in addition to the nomination of qualified officers to assume senior positions in ISNAD.”

[Libya, 9 December 2019] – Fathi Bashagha‘s letter was an attempt by the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) to disavow the fact that armed militias, fuel smugglers, and human traffickers, exert a de facto control over the security landscape in the city of Zawiya.

Mohamed Bahroun, a Captain in the GNA Ministry of Interior’s ISNAD in al-Zawiya, appeared in a selfie photo with the captive LNA Air Force pilot, Major General Amer al-Ourfi, humiliating the POW and mocking him, displaying the 69-year-old pilot in his underwear after he fell in captivity. The abusive photos which went viral on social media platforms amid condemnation by human rights’ activists caused a great embarrassment to Fathi Bashagha, the Minister of Interior in the Tripoli government who reiterates on every occasion that his ministry does not employ any terrorist elements or wanted criminals.

Following the issuance of Bashagha’s letter, Mohamed Bahroun ignored the content of the official instructions, declaring that the First Division (ISNAD), led by Mohamed Bahroun himself, announced that it has seized weapons possessed by an alleged terrorist cell. ISNAD said on Sunday night via its official Facebook account that “after receiving a phone call from one of the patriotic men, the First Division received information confirming the existence of a group belonging to the LNA Dignity Operation, stating that the group was transporting weapons from a location west of the capital, Tripoli.”

ISNAD, led by Bahroun, who is on the wanted list for the General Prosecutor’s Bureau on charges of links to the Islamic State, added that ISNAD “immediately instructed the members of the investigation team in the First Division to follow the members of the group affiliated with LNA Dignity Operation, and after setting up what it called a “ tight ambush,” a quantity of weapons was seized from what it described as a “terrorist cell.”

ISNAD claims weapons seized from terrorist size.

The First Division (ISNAD) also said that the alleged terrorist group was charged with destabilizing security and stability within the capital. However, ISNAD claimed later that it had seized one of the four vehicles belonging to the “terrorist cell.” ISNAD indicated that work is still underway to apprehend the rest of what it described as “the gang,” and said that all pistols and machine guns are brand new and have not been used before.

Arrest warrant issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Bureau against Mohamed Bahroun, aka the Mouse.

The news item about the arrest of an alleged “terrorist cell” on the ISNAD Facebook page.

Meanwhile, several commentators have questioned the authenticity of the news disseminated by the ISNAD, as it has not shown any photos of the suspects in this alleged terrorist cell. The dissemination of such sensational posts brings to mind, according to observers, the media tactics of the Libyan Shield Force affiliates in Benghazi when they were accused of terrorism or assassinations, or when their commanders were dismissed from their positions by the Chief of Staff at that time before the Libyan National Army liberated Benghazi. These groups used to issue statements or post photos on Facebook pages claiming that they had made progress, or had seized prohibited items, to prove that the decision of dismissing their commanders would result in curtailing and obstructing their alleged security efforts.

© Al Marsad English (2019)