Tripoli, 10 November 2013:
An Air Force Colonel who played a leading role in the uprising against Qaddafi thwarted a suspected attempt . . .[restrict]to kidnap him on Friday night, according to military sources.
Colonel Abd Nasser Bousnina was confronted by around 100 armed men outside his Benghazi home shortly after 9pm, a source from the Armed Forces told the Libya Herald. It is not clear exactly what the men wanted but it is believed they intended to either kidnap him or make an attempt on his life.
These men were unaware, however, that Bousnina had a small number of Air Force personnel nearby, who immediately appeared on the scene. A non-violent altercation followed and the situation was apparently resolved peacefully.
Spokesman for the Benghazi Joint Security Room (BJSR), Abdullah Zaidi, denied there had been any attack on Bousnina. “There was a problem, not an attack, which he solved,” Zaidi told the Libya Herald.
A number of Air Force officers have been targeted in a string of assassinations – leading to the deaths of nearly 100 senior military and security personnel – that have rocked Benghazi this year. Last month the head of Benghazi’s Air Traffic Control, Colonel Adel Al-Towahni, was shot dead outside his home.
Towahni had also played an important role in the revolution, and the incident provoked an angry response from the Air Force. Some complained that, despite clearly being at risk, the government had provided no training, equipment or financial support to help officers protect themselves against possible attacks. One said Air Force personnel even had to buy their own pistols.
Bousnina led a defection of Air Force officers in the east of the country against Qaddafi in the early days of the revolution. He has since worked on raising the profile of the Libyan Air Force abroad, attending the International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) in March. He is also expected to be one of a number of Air Force and Ministry of Defence representatives heading to next week’s Dubai Air Show. [/restrict]