By Seraj Essul.
Tripoli, 23 June 2014:
A candidate in Wednesday’s elections was murdered this morning in Sebha in what is thought to . . .[restrict]have been a deliberate act of ethnic vengeance.
Mohamed Badi Hassan Kwakwai, a Tebu who was one of the 61 candidates for the seven seats in the Sebha sub-constituency, was gunned down at around 9.30 am in a drive-by shooting. It happened near his home in the town’s Nasiriya district according to a senior member of the Tebu community who did not want to be named.
Sebha, scene of intermittent but bitter ethnic and tribal fighting ever since the revolution, was shaken afresh by clashes last week in which at least eight people died. Again, they involved the Awlad Suleiman, the Qaddadfa and the Tebu. The later two are currently allied against the former.
The Tebu community in the town believe that Kwakwai was killed because he was a leading member of it, according to the source, rather than for personal reasons. “We’re not accusing anyone in particular at the moment,” he said, “but because of the conflict between us and Awlad Suleiman, they are the prime suspects”.
He said that if the identity of the killer was not disclosed in the next 24 hours, “we will respond”. He did not say how.
There are fears that the killing will convince Tebus not to vote in Wednesday’s elections. There have already been calls on them to boycott the poll over rights for ethnic communities in Libya. However, asked if those in Sebha would now shun the poll, the source was categoric. “They will vote,” he said.
A spokesman for the Misrata-based Third Force which has been trying to ensure peace in Sebha for the past few months, was more certain as to why Kwakwai was murdered. It was the work of Qaddafi loyalists. “They killed him because he was a candidate. Those who killed him don’t want things to settle down in Sebha.”
Apart from the killing, he said, the truce between Awlad Suleiman and the Qaddadfa was holding although yesterday there had been shooting at a checkpoint at the town’s northern entrance in which a member of the Misrata forces had been wounded. The assailants fled by foot when fire was returned but they had been identified, the spokesman said.
He would give any further details other than that the gunmen’s community leaders had promised to hand them over.
Such promises are rarely kept. [/restrict]