Zliten Military Council Members Kidnapped

Hassan Zliten

The Zliten Revolutionaries’ Brigade has said that four members of Zliten’s Supreme Security Committee were seized on Tuesday by one of the military battalions from Bani Walid, the Al Fatah battalion, which is part of Brigade 93. The four were taken while on their way to Sebha on a security mission. They have been named as Moammar Fituri Joha, Ibrahim Muftah Ashour, Mohamed Amar Ehmadi and Faraj Mahfoud EJfilah.

According to a source from the Zliten brigade, the Fatah Battalion is demanding Zliten hand over 20 people from Bani Walid detained in Zliten. The Zliten Revolutionaries say they refuse to refuse to do so, claiming that the Bani Walid battalion is run by ex-Qaddafi fighters. They also accuse them of kidnapping the four in revenge for Zliten’s involvement in the liberation of Bani Walid.

The Zliten brigade say they has been mobilized and deployed in the Bir Dofan and Sweih areas between the town and Bani Walid. They have given Al-Fatah battalion a specific time to hand over Zlitan detainees. They also claim that town elders in Bani Walid have promised to help try and release the four men but that the Al-Fatah battalion are refusing to do so.

Up till today, Thursday, the four are still held.

Zliten says the Bani Walid brigade has accused its forces of looting when they entered the town last year and have demanded the return of all stolen goods including cars, cash and livestock as the price for the men’s freedom.

The Zliten battalion says that the NTC and government have been informed of the situation and asked to intervene. Zliten’s NTC member, Khaled Shakshak, has confirmed that the NTC had contacted Bani Walid elders and that the council was sending a delegation there to resolve the situation peacefully.

The NTC is seen as having little if any control over Bani Walid brigades or the town because the military council and local council remain until this moment outside the town, in Misrata. They have been there since 23 January when 18 members of battalions from Souq Al-Juma were killed in a fight with men from Bani Walid. The killers remain at large despite Souq Al-Juma handing the government a list of some 30 names believed to be responsible.

The members of the two councils, regarded as pro-government in Bani Walid, fear their lives would be in danger if they return.