By Sami Zaptia.
London, 21 February 2021:
Libya’s Tripoli Interior Minister, Fathi Bashagha, survived an attack on his motorcade in Tripoli today. He was on his way home in the western outskirt of Janzur.
The Tripoli government has labelled it an assassination attempt.
One of the assailants was killed and two others were detained. One of Bashagha’s guards was wounded.
Unconfirmed reports say the attackers belonged to the state recognized Stability Support Apparatus. They have been quoted by Libyan media as saying that it was not an assassination attempt but an accident due to poor coordination by Bashagha’s guards and their frequent harassment of passers-by.
Stability Support Apparatus
The news that the alleged assassins belonged to the Stability Support Apparatus has already set Libyan social media tongues wagging.
It will be recalled that the internationally recognized Libyan prime minister, Faiez Serraj, created the new Tripoli-based security force, the Stability Support Apparatus.
It was understood that it is under his direct control rather than the Interior Ministry or the Defence Ministry. It was to be a completely separate entity from existing security entities in the Interior Ministry with an independent budget.
The entity was to be headed by militiaman Abdelghani Al-Kikli aka ‘‘Ghenewa’’, head of Libyan government recognized Busleem Ghenewa brigade with one of his deputies the new head of the Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade (TRB – formerly headed by Haitham Tajuri), Ayoub Aburas.
The decree (38/2021) signed by Serraj only, was dated 17 January and circulated (leaked) widely on social media on 19 January. It has not been published by the state’s official platforms.
The move by Serraj to create such a security force at the time when his Interior Minister was attempting to reform the security sector by DDR the various militias and while the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum (LPDF) was in the middle of selecting a new government had been criticised on Libyan social media.
It will be interesting to see how Bashagha chooses roll with the incident and how it plays out at a time when the new Presidency Council and GNU are trying to achieve unprecedented Libyan unity to obtain endorsement and organize for the 24 December 2021 elections.
A clash between any of Tripoli’s main militias would be very destabilizing to the whole of Libya.