By Ashraf Abdul Wahab.
Tripoli, 27 October:
Displaced refugees are being allowed back into Bani Walid without harassment from security forces, according to . . .[restrict]the office of Chief of Staff General Yusuf Mangoush.
Ali Ali-Sheikhi, official spokesman for Mangoush, said that refugees had been returning to the town since 25 October, adding that his office had received no reports of any harassment of civilians.
“There were no apparent violations”, Sheikhi said, “and should any violations have been made, they would have been unintentional mistakes which may have happened on a personal level”.
On 25 October, one day after Bani Walid was declared liberated, the Libya Herald witnessed first hand efforts by members of the Libya Shield brigade to prevent thousands of refugees from returning to the town.
Following altercations with several residents, one officer was seen shoving a pistol in the face of a civilian before firing it in the air. A 14.5mm heavy machine gun was then fired over the heads of the crowd, which contained several children. Other reporters witnessed similar scenes later in the day.
Sheikhi said that had any such incidents taken place, then his office “would immediately launch an investigation into them”. He also denied there had been any abuse against those captured by the military during the conflict.
“The army’s dealings with detainees ends as soon as they are captured, because they get handed over to the military police who, in turn, take up responsibility for investigating those who have been arrested, whether they are Libyans or foreign nationals”.
On 24 October, government spokesman Nasser Al-Manaa said that more than 100 people had been arrested. It is understood that the government is pursuing some 1,000 alleged Qaddafi loyalists in connection with a range of crimes.
It is being reported that the military police and the Supreme Security Committee have taken on responsibility for day-to-day duties in the town, with the military only engaging in kinetic security operations.