Only in the GNA: A Wanted Criminal with ISIS Links Becomes Head of Criminal Investigation – Al Marsad

Al-Zawiya Security Director, Brigadier-General Ali al-Lafi, announced he had a meeting yesterday, Tuesday, with the new Head of the Criminal Investigation Department and the Director of Investigation in the city to discuss several important files, including combating terrorist extremism, corruption, and crimes in the city. The new of had of Criminal Investigation, is however Captain” Muhammad Salem Bahroun, nicknamed “Al-Far” (or literally “The Mouse”) an ISIS-linked militianmen wanted by the Prosecutor General.

(Libya, 8 July 2020) – At first glance this meeting may not strike as strange, but what is abnormal is that the name of the Head of Criminal Investigation Department, as posted on the official page of the Security Directorate, was “Captain” Muhammad Salem Bahroun, nicknamed “Al-Far” (or literally “The Mouse”). 

Muhammad Salem Bahroun (Al-Far) as the Head of the Criminal Investigation Department.

Other attendees at the meeting included Major Ashraf Issa, the Director of Investigation in the Criminal Investigation Department in al-Zawiya. What is ironic is that an officer with the rank of major works under the command of a civilian just granted the Government of National Accord (GNA) the rank of captain, namely al-Far, who is a notorious smuggler and militiaman with links to ISIS and who has never received any academic training or qualification. 

Major Ashraf Issa and Security Director of al-Zawiyah listening to Al-Far

According to the Directorate’s statement, the meeting decided on a mechanism for visiting inmates in al-Zawiya prisons after the outbreak of coronavirus. It is noteworthy that Fathi Bashagha himself had demanded Brigadier-General Ali al-Lafi to arrest al-Far and his militia, the “First Security Company”. And yet now Al-Far is “promoted” to the position of Director of Criminal Investigation.

“Captain” Muhammad Salem Bahroun, nicknamed “Al-Far”

This proves once more that the GNA has no respect for professional institutions and whether the people it puts in positions of authority have no criminal record and are qualified for the position. The appointments that Fathi  Bashagha, the GNA’s Minister of Interior, makes have no credibility. 

Wanted ISIS Operatives in Bashagha’s Interior Ministry

“The meeting also discussed the file of terrorist crimes and organizations,” said the statement with complete disregard to the fact that Al-Far was among those wanted for cooperating with ISIS-affiliated members before the terrorist organization collapsed in Sabratha. Al-Far’s name was No.6 on the wanted list in the famous case 131 of 2017—all wanted for terrorism by the Attorney General.

Arrest warrant issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Bureau against Mohamed Bahroun

The statement said that the Zawiyah Security Director valued what he called the “effective” and important role of the Criminal Investigation Department, headed by Al-Far, in combating crime and terrorism, and stressed the need to intensify efforts to monitor, raid, and deracinate all corruption, smuggling, and narcotics dens..

Birds’ eye view of the meeting

It is noteworthy that al-Zawiyah Security Director Ali al-Lafi had himself contacted the former GNA’s Minister of Interior, Abdul-Salam Ashour, regarding the accusations against Al-Far, but the latter refused to arrest or turn him in and instead praised his role being one of the “February 17 revolutionaries”.

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Evidence of the Al-Far’s association with ISIS was corroborated by the confessions of his comrades in the organization. These confessions included those by Ahmed Salem Al-Falah known as Abu Al-Laith Al-Libi, and Ahmed Mesbah Jaber, who were 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.

What is a established fact is the connection between these criminal networks and al-Zawiya-born Muslim Brotherhood’s Khaled al-Mishri, the head of the High Council of the State. In December 2019, Mishri visited Zawiya with the locally wanted and UN-sanctioned fuel smuggler, Mohammed Kachlaf, (aka al-Kassab), to inspect the impact of the bombing in Mohammed Kachlaf’s house, which also targeted the camp of GNA Ministry of the Interior’s Mohamed Bahroun, or Al-Far.

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