By Libya Herald reporters.
Tripoli/Ghat/Tunis, 22 May 2017:
Presidency Council (PC) member Fathi Majbri has called the Brak massacre a “war crime” involving terrorists. It has also seriously jeopardised efforts to bring about national reconciliation, he says.
Speaking to the Libya Herald, he said that the PC was awaiting the conclusions of the investigation it had launched into the massacre, but that there was already anecdotal evidence of terrorists being involved in it. He referred to the Benghazi Defence Brigades, which he noted had been described by the PC as terrorists when they moved to attack Benghazi last year. The group had no legitimacy whatsoever, he added, and the PC itself had certainly not authorised any attack on the airbase.
“They executed prisoners in cold blood. They executed newly graduated officers who had no guns with them. These were war crimes,” he declared.
He said that the attack had, moreover, put into jeopardy the various efforts to bring about national reconciliation – notably the meetings between House of Representatives (HoR) and State Council presidents Ageela Saleh and Abdulrahman Sewehli in Rome, between PC head Faiez Serraj and Libyan National Army (LNA) leader Khalifa Hafter in Abu Dhabi and the meeting Serraj and he himself had had ten days ago with a number of eastern HoR members in Tunis. He described the massacre as an act of sabotage.
Meanwhile, with an ultimatum to it to leave Tamenhint airbase and the south by tomorrow afternoon, there is no sign that the mainly Misratan Battalion No. 13 which was also implicated in the Brak attack intends to comply.
The ultimatum, addressed to the battalion under its former name, the Third Force, was made on Saturday at a meeting of angry Fezzan tribal elders as well as of representatives from the Warfalla tribe.
Accusing the battalion of responsibility for the slaughter, they said it had to withdraw from all of Fezzan within 72 hours. No conditions were acceptable, they insisted, calling on people to go to the Tamenhint base tomorrow to force the Misratans and their allies to leave. They also called on tribal members to join the LNA and renamed the Brak airbase as “Martyrs airbase”, calling for 18 May, the day of the massacre, to be commemorated annually.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for Libya Shield in the south, Abdulhamid Abduljalil, has insisted his men had no involvement in the Brak massacre. Accusations to the contrary were simply an attempt to stir up divisions within the region. He told this newspaper that his forces remained neutral, despite the fact that LNA jets had attacked them three days ago, injuring 12 people, two of them seriously.