By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 9 May 2013:
Reports that militiamen who have been besieging the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice for over . . .[restrict]a week had last night withdrawn and gone home are premature. They were again at the ministries today, preventing employees from resuming work.
Numbers have reduced considerably and a pattern has emerged with the gunmen disappearing late at night to trucks and other accommodation to sleep and returning mid morning and then settling into their makeshift tents for a day of coffee, cigarettes and conversation and occasional protests and disruption of the passing traffic. They insist that will remain until the ministries have been, in their words, “cleansed” of Qaddafi-era officials in compliance with the Political Isolation Law, passed by Congress on Sunday.
At the time the law was passed, it was expected that they would return home. Many did. In the two days before Sunday’s vote, it is estimated that 1,500 militiamen came to the capital from a number of towns and cities. It is now down to a hard core of about 200, mainly from Misrata. They are believed to be largely the same 200 who started the siege the previous Tuesday.
Some are said to be members of the Libyan army. Some of the trucks supporting the militiamen have army insignia.
Tawfik Ebreek, National Forces Alliance Congress member for Tobruk, said that there are at least three different groups of militias involved in the siege of the Foreign and Justice Ministries with different aims and interests. The first group included former rebels who fought against Qaddafi and who simply aimed to purge Qaddafi loyalists from government. The second group, he said, are promoting personal interests after having failed to get posts in the new government. The third, he believed, had a strong political agenda and wanted topple prime minister Ali Zeidan. [/restrict]