By Seraj Essul.
Tripoli, 27 November 2013:
Derna has seen another troubled day in which the bodies of two soldiers, apparently seized from . . .[restrict]a roadblock, were found this morning in a vehicle in the east of the town. A further badly-decayed body, as yet unidentified, was discovered on a beach.
It is understood that the two members of the Saiqa special forces had been part of a unit manning a checkpoint to the west of Derna. This had been put in place to stop Ansar Al-Sharia elements from the city moving to Benghazi during Monday’s fighting. Their bodies were discovered near the coast in the Al-Satlatt area of eastern Derna.
The men, reportedly identified from their papers when they were moved to Hareesh hospital mortuary, were Mahmoud Al-Hamri from Beida and Khaled Boujinah from Tobruk. A hospital source has told the Libya Herald that both men had been shot in the head and one of them also in the heart. Their families had come to collect them.
Video had been posted on a Facebook site showing an almost completely beheaded corpse in a hospital morgue. This was claimed to be one of the men. However, the video is believed to be old footage of a completely separate killing.
Similar doubts have been cast on part of the footage put up on an Ansar Al-Sharia website. An early sequence shows the Iraqi lecturer, Hamid Khalf, kidnapped in Derna four days ago, reading a statement in which he links his abduction to the hangings in Iraq of Libyans convicted of killing Iraqi citizens. Though his face shows signs of violence, Khalf speaks steadily to the camera, whose operator can just be seen in the reflection of his glasses.
On 9 November, Adel Zuwai became the third Libyan to be executed in Iraq. There are unconfirmed reports that another Libyan has since gone to the gallows. When news of Zuwai’s death broke eight days ago, the Iraqi embassy evacuated its staff to Tunis.
The second part of the video shows a hooded man sitting in a shallow grave being shot twice in the head. However Justice Minister Salah Al-Marghani is reported to have said today that the film had been examined carefully and it was not thought that the hooded victim was Khalf.
A general strike called for today in the town, has not been widely supported and has been postponed. Civil society leaders had been demanding action to restore security. Derna council’s president Fathallah Al-Awami who resigned two days ago said he was quitting “because of the security situation in Derna and the fact that the government is not responding to the city’s requests for police and army.” His deputy, Omar Bukhatu had quit the council the day before, citing personal reasons.
This evening there were reports of an explosion and a separate attack on the home of a member of the local police.
With contributions from Ashraf Abdul Wahab.