By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 19 November 2015:
All 54 Misratans seized in Tripoli on Tuesday by gunmen loyal to Abu Sleem militia . . .[restrict]boss Abdul Ghani Kikli (aka Ghneiwa) were released last night. In return, Misratan forces handed over five of his men they seized the previous day when they attacked a house in Hadba district, allegedly being used as a prison by him.
The deal was hammered out during negotiations in the capital involving representatives from the municipal and military councils of Abu Sleem, Misrata and Kikla. Misrata’s mayor Mohamed Eshtewi was one of the negotiators.
The Misratans, who were randomly grabbed from their cars when yesterday when Ghneiwa’s men set up roadblocks across the city, were released some hours apart in two batches of 27 people.
As part of the deal, the six men discovered at the house by the Misratans and who were alleged to have been kidnapped and held for ransom were handed over to the public prosecutor for investigation rather than being freed.
Gneiwa is reported to have demanded that they be handed back to him.
The deal is seen in Tripoli as a victory for him, reinforcing his growing power, and a major setback for Misrata, the second in just over a fortnight. On 2 November, Misratan forces were unable to protect the Prime Ministry building when it was attacked by Ghneiwa’s ally, Haitham Tajouri.
Misrata’s weak spot is now seen as its many people resident in the capital and who can be abducted by Tripoli militia leaders such as Ghneiwa for political purposes.
Despite the freeing of the 54 Misratans and the removal of the roadblocks, there is still tension still in Tripoli and a widespread belief that there will be further clashes involving them and local militias.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani, the Tripoli regime’s grand mufti, has followed the lead of local militia leaders and demanded that Misratan forces quit the capital. On the Tanasah TV station of his Dar Al-Ifta (Fatwa House), he compared the Misratans to the Zintanis, whom he has regularly labelled as traitors. Zintan’s Sawaq Brigade had been kicked out of the city, he said, but now there was a new Sawaq Brigade which likewise had to go.
Two days ago, 11 Tripoli militia leaders signed a statement demanding Misratan forces leave Tripoli. [/restrict]