By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli, 28 May 2016:
The Tripoli-based State Council has condemned Thursday’s assault by a militia on its president, Abdulrahman . . .[restrict]Sewehli, while he was visiting Abu Grain, south of Misrata, to be briefed on operations against the so-called Islamic State (IS). In a statement issued late last night, it demanded that those involved be punished, saying that they were not part of the anti-IS operation.
According to various reports, however, Sewehli’s convoy was met by the commander of one of the Misratan militias which is involved in Operation Bunyan Marsous against IS. Named as Ibrahim Rafaida of the Aasar militia, he launched into a verbal attack over the support they have been given by the new authorities in Tripoli. An heated argument then took place in which Radaida’ deputy allegedly slapped Sewehli. This rapidly descended into a fight between Aasar forces and Sewehli’s bodyguards who were accompanied by Brigadier Bashir Al-Gadi, head of the operations room. Overpowered, Sewehli and Gadi are said to have been beaten, one of the bodyguards shot in the leg and one of their vehilcles destroyed. They nonetheless managed to escape and Sewehli was then helicoptered out first to Misrata and then to Tripoli.
Rafaida is said to be an Islamist militant, sympathetic to Ansar Al-Sharia and the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shoura Council and, formerly, to have been close to Sewehli.
Despite these reports and the statement from the State Council, which says it is setting up an investigation into the incident, Sewehli’s own media office has denied the attack. It says that there were clashes with IS as he arrived which resulted in one of the vehicles in his convoy being destroyed, but no one was hurt.
The incident occurred while Sewehli’s son is said to have been briefly abducted in Tripoli.