Benghazi Marks 8th Anniversary “Black Saturday” Massacre by Islamist Militias – Al Marsad

The families of the victims of the massacre committed by Libya Shield One in the city of Benghazi, commemorated on Tuesday the 8th anniversary of the tragic events of Black Saturday. The massacre which killed more than 40 people and injured over 155 youth of the city, who were protesting against the growth of extremism and terrorism and the embrace of foreign fighters among groups.

LIBYA SHIELD ONE

(LIBYA, 9 June 2021) – The massacre was committed by the Islamist Libya Shield One fighters on the fateful day of Saturday 8 June 2023, after demonstrators gathered in front of the Libya Shield headquarters in Benghazi. The demonstrators gathered in a peaceful manner at around noon, calling for the Shield forces, led by the terrorist Wissam bin Hamid, to leave the headquarters and hand it over to the Special Forces (al-Sa’iqa) after a wave of assassinations in the city.

The protestors demanded the deployment of Libya’s official army and police forces instead of the Libya Shield One militia fighters.

 

The militia member of Libya Shield One, however, fired on the peaceful protesters, and the resulting exchange of fire, including heavy weapons and anti-aircraft weapons, killing over 40 and injuring over 155. Most of the dead were hit in the head, chest and abdomen, suggesting a premeditated desire to kill.

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH STATEMENT

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Libyan authorities to conduct a quick and comprehensive investigation into the horrific massacre, and urged the authorities to hold those responsible for violating the law accountable, describing the massacre as “horrific”. The HRW report said: “The government also needs to end the impunity for militia abuses that prompted this demonstration in the first place. Its incoherent policy toward militias endangers any prospects for the rule of law.”

 

AL-MAGARIEF AND THE GNC

At that time, the General National Congress (GNC), headed by Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf, issued a decree asking the Attorney General’s office to investigate the massacre. However, the results of the investigation were neither made clear nor published, as was the case with the investigations over the Ghargour massacre of November 2013 and the massacre at Brak al-Shati—despite the demands by the families of the victims.

The video clips that were documented from the site of the massacre show how peaceful the demonstrators were in front of the headquarters before the shooting started. This led to a rapid increase in tension between the residents the Shield One militias, as the protestors insisted that the militia fighter leave the city. Al-Saiqa Special Forces intervened in the clashes once the Libya Shield One fighters began to shoot at the crowds, and they succeeded in taking them out.

The Libya Shield One militia fighters had accused the victims they had killed at the demonstration of being “hired men, enemies of the 17th February revolution, secularists”, and so on.

QATAR, MILITIAS, AND THE CITY OF BENGHAZI

This confrontation between the citizens of the city of Benghazi and Islamist militia fighters was not an isolated case, but the result of accumulated grievances against the militias. Growing calls for militias to withdraw from the city began at the end of 2012 with formation o the Benghazi Rescue Movement, which aimed to remove and dissolve the armed formations, confine weapons to the army and the police, and denounce the Qatari intervention in support of the Islamists and their armed arms.

The movement came into spontaneous existence after massive pubic outcry after the brutal assassination of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens by Islamist terrorists. The tragedy led to mass public mobilisation in Benghazi to get militias out of the city.

Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf, the President of the GNC, proved remarkably inept in dealing with the crisis following the assassination of Ambassador Stevens. He, together with the then Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur, and two members of the conference, Mohamed Ammari Zayed and Ibrahim Sahad, and other officials, all rushed to Benghazi to protect gunmen loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood and the National Front for the Salvation of Libya (NFSL), such as Salem Derby, Fawzi Abu Ktef and others.

EVADING THE LAW

With regards to the Black Saturday massacre in 2014, the members of the GNC had split in the voting session into two camps at the time, as some of them demanded to expedite the dismissal of the Chief of Staff at the time, Major General Yousef Al-Mangoush, and to hold those responsible for the bloody events accountable.

The other camp demanded the summoning of the then Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who went out on the night of the massacre to confirm on television that an investigation would be conducted and urged restraint when questions were directed to him about the incident.

Commenting on the massacre, Eric Goldstein, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch, said: “An immediate and thorough investigation is needed to look into these crimes and explain why government forces didn’t intervene in a raging battle until dozens of people were dead.”

Wissam bin Hamid shots at the demonstrators outside the Libya Shield camp

He added, “The government also needs to end the impunity for militia abuses that prompted this demonstration in the first place. Its incoherent policy toward militias endangers any prospects for the rule of law.”

Although many of the leaders and those involved in that massacre were killed by the Libyan National Army (LNA), such as the terrorist Wissam bin Hamid, who appeared in the pictures throwing live bullets towards the unarmed—other are still alive in the western region of Libya and in Istanbul, far from the grip of justice.

VICTIMS NEED JUSTICE

The following are pictures that documented the events before and after the massacre, including the growing presence of terrorists in the streets with Ansar al-Sharia and Al-Qaeda banners. It also includes photos of demonstrators condemning Qatar and its role in supporting and arming the Muslim Brotherhood.

We also publish here the official list of the names of the 40 citizens who were mercilessly gunned down by Libya Shield One militia fights—by bullets of extremism and authoritarianism. It was this prevalent aggression by militias that launched Operation Dignity in an effort to bring security, stability and peace to Benghazi and dismantle the power base of Islamist terror in the city.

THE FORTY MARTYRS

1 – Abdullah Saleh Al-Fitouri

2 – Younes Rajab Al-Araibi

3 – Taher Ramadan

4 – Mohamed Fathi Al-Barasi

5 – Mahmoud Wanis Ali Al-Huni

6 – Hani Ali Abdulsalam Al-Aqoury

7 – Muhammad Muhammad Al-Barghathi

8 – Abdul Salam Mustafa Al-Awami

9 – Anwar Abed Rabbo al-Qatrani

10 – Omar Misbah Al-Tayeb Al-Aqoury

11 – Mostafa Ahmed Touati

12 – Noureddine Ayad El-Fassi

13 – Faraj Bouajila Abdelnabi Al-Barasi

14 – Mansour Mohamed Belaid Zubi

15 – Mutasim Billah Muhammad Qurira

16 – Salem El-Sayed El-Exiled

17 – Wahbi Hamid Anwar

18 – Ali Ashour Awad

19 – Hudaya Muhammed Muhammed

20 – Abdulaziz Nasser Mustafa Al-Barghathi

21 – Adel Saeed Othman Al-Barki

22 – Firas Shaaban Muhammad

23 – Monem Saleh Jibril Al-Araibi

24 – Mahmoud Balqasem Al-Urfi

25 – Abdel Moneim Ibrahim Hassouna

26 – Ali Jumaa Al-Ghazani

27 – Abdulaziz Abdullah Suleiman Al-Qatani

28 – Idris Mohamed Salem

29 – Ibrahim Al-Mahdawi

30 – Salem Saad Muhammad Al-Obaidi

31 – Ibrahim Faraj Younis al-Mahdi

32 – Idris Muhammad Salem Al-Kilani

33 – Yunus Rajab Younes

34 – Abd al-Salam Jumaa Hamida Muhammad

35 – Abdulaziz Nasser Al-Barghathi

36 – Abdul Salam Mustafa Saad

37 – Omar Ali Boufaraj Madi

38 – Muhammad Bel-Qasim Mahmoud Al-Arfi

39 – Abdullah Abdulsalam Al-Ajili

40 – Salem Ali Al-Fitouri

 

© ALMARSAD ENGLISH (2021)

FURTHER LINKS

Six Years Since the Ghargour Massacre: Killers Now Defend “Civilian State”