Tripoli, . . .[restrict]March 18: Salafists attacked Roman statuary at Sabratha on Friday morning. It is reported by local residents that they destroyed one statue, did some slight damage to another and then tried to get into the museum before being stopped by guards.
According to Salah Agab, Chairman of the Department of Antiquities, only one statue was damaged. “They tried to break a statue near the Roman baths,” said. “But it’s not original.” He said it was a copy.
Agab said those responsible were the same people who have been attacking marabouts’ tombs in mosques across the country.
There has been a spate of such attacks.
Earlier this month, several hundred Salafists arrived in Zliten from across the country intent on destroying the tomb of one of the most revered Libyan Sufis, Sidi Abdul-Salam Al-Asmar. Confronted by furious local brigadesmen supported by others from Misrata, they withdrew after a group of leading figures from the town and nearby Khoms, M’salata and Misrata then intervened.
Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that Agab has been reinstated in his post as head of the antiquities department.
He had stood down last week after number of employees at the department demanded that he be removed because he had been appointed during the Qaddafi period. Agab, trained as an archeologist in the UK, was appointed only a year before the revolution broke out.
At Leptis Magna, some staff forced the closure of the site on Wednsday, handing disappointed visitors leaflets with a list of demands. These not only included the investigation and removal from the department of management who worked there during the Qaddafi period but also a list of more pecuniary demands — bonuses for working at a dangerous site, extra payments for those who guard the place and previous bonuses to be paid as well as the demand that Leptis Magna be administered by a local antiquities department not one based in Tripoli
Following the intervention of Prime Minister Abdurrahim Al-Kib who was attending the national reconciliation conference in nearby Zliten, the strikers went back to work the next day and Agab was confirmed as the department’s head. [/restrict]