By Ahmed Elumami.
Tripoli, 22 November 2013:
The handover of . . .[restrict]militia bases continues in the wake of the Gharghour tragedy.
Following yesterday’s handover of five bases, Camp 27, held by Libya Shield Western Brigade was today handed over to military police this afternoon. Representatives from the militia were not, however, in attendance at the brief ceremony which saw members of Wirshafana Shura Council hand over the base to security forces.
The chiefs of staff for the army, navy and air force – Mansour Bohajar, Hassan Bushnaf and Jumaa Al-Abani – travelled to the empty barracks, officially renamed Abdul Fattah Younis Camp, to receive custody of it.
Abuejila Amer Saif Annaser, a spokesperson for Wirshafana Shura Council told the Libya Herald that it hoped to see the barracks, located west of Tripoli, between Zawia and the Wirshafana district, turned into a national hospital or a public park.
Brigadier-General Albani, who presided over the handover, said the occasion marked the achievement of one of the objectives of the February Revolution. “Delivery of military headquarters to the state is the most important step towards building the army and the peaceful exchange of power,” he said.
“We intend to build strong and intelligent armed forces. This is the core of our concerns in the interest of Libya and Libyans,” he stressed.
The handing over of the barracks, in front of its main gate, had a markedly sparse attendance. There were no signs of any activity inside.
The base, has been disputed between Zawia whose forces occupied it in the 2011 August advance into Tripoli, and Wirshifana. Either voluntarily, or by force, the camp has changed hands at least three times with the army taking control at least twice. The army moved out in September this year allowing the Western Libya Shield Brigade to take over in Congress President Nuri Abu Sahmain’s plans to protect the capital.
In August, the Prime Minister condemned raids on Camp 27 in which specialized equipment was stolen by an unidentified militia. It later transpired that captured military equipment had been provided by the US and that as a result US training staff were pulling out.
Libyan officials, however, then claimed the raids happened at Salahuddin although this base was being used by Zintan’s Al-Medani Brigade. It handed it over yesterday. [/restrict]