By Umar Khan.
Tripoli, 8 May 2013:
The Joint Security Force commonly known as . . .[restrict]the ‘Quaa Mushtarika’ reports it has cleared irregular brigades from 56 buildings across Tripoli. The militiamen evicted belonged not only to groups from the capital but from towns such as Kikla, Zintan and Ghariyan.
The force, a joint initiative of Ministries of Interior and Defence, was formed six weeks ago.
The Joint Force says it is still waiting for authorisation from the Attorney General to clear a further 15 buildings in the capital’s Gharghour district but that the authorities have so far declined, citing sensitivities because of the brigades involved. They are from Misrata.
Its head of public relations, Esam Naas, told the Libya Herald that it is well equipped and ready to work in difficult situations but needs support from the government.
Formed on 15 March by the two ministries and then endoresed by the General National Congress, it has some 2,000 men selected from the army and the Supreme Security Commitee. Commanded by an army officer, Colonel Fitouri Ghuraebi, it also has 300 vehicles and 21 armed personnel carriers.
Naas claims that all the buildings were cleared without a single bullet fired. “The first thing we do is to get a legal notice to evict them. We contact the Attorney General or his deputy to get the warrant. It is illegal for any unit to stay in a building without the permission of (Interior) Ministry. We give them 72 hours’ notice to leave the building. Once it is under our control, we hand it back to the state.”
Referring to the standoff in Gharghour, Naas said that negotiations took place in Suq Al Juma between brigades and the Joint Forces with help from a number of influential and respected leaders but it was not clear when the brigades would leave. “The Attorney General refused to give us the permission to clear those buildings. We went to the Minister of Interior and then the Prime Minister but we still don’t have the permission.”
He also made the point that many troubles in Libya are related to security and that the situation would not be normal until there was work for people. “Investment and the restarting of projects are directly related to security and it won’t be secure until you authorise the forces,” he claimed. “We are well equipped but we don’t have authorisation from the (Interior) Minister to enforce the law. But if we get little help from the Ministry, we can totally secure Tripoli.”
Naas said that despite many promises they were not being supported by the Interior Ministry. “They have set aside a budget for the initiative but the reality is that we are not even getting paid. Almost 1,500 men are working without money till now.”
According to Naas, several assurances had been given by the Finance Ministry but nothing concrete transpired.
“There is some disconnect here. The Minister of Interior told us many times that he had approved it but it is still being processed by the Finance Ministry. How are we supposed to work in these conditions? Many of us here are spending from our very own pockets.” [/restrict]