A summary of the last 72 hours in Libya….
On Friday, the country’s commander of military police, Ahmed al-Barghathi, was shot and killed as he left a mosque. Hours later, armed units with guns and rockets stormed the Benghazi home of a prominent militia commander, Wissam Ben Hamid. Army units headed for the home of a second commander, Ahmed Abu Khattala, and fought with other militia.
Ben Hamid later went on live TV to insist that he had no role in the killing of al-Barghathi, vowing reprisals against those who destroyed his home.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan (pictured) — briefly detained earlier this month by the force responsible for protecting Parliament — said in a press conference that he “swimming against the current” of militancy.
“What can we do?” the Prime Minister asked, “The situation is beyond the capability of anyone.”
Zeidan criticized not only the militias “trying to hijack the state” but also “various parties” within the Government, including retired army commanders, whom he accused of hindering his attempts to bolster security forces.
The Prime Minister also accused Abdul Hakkim Belazi, the official spokesman for the Counter Crime Agency, of involvement.
“We are not a state like a normal one….We are in middle of repercussions of a revolution,” Zeidan appealed. “We accepted the challenge not because we are brilliant politicians or have the magic want … but we are ready to bear the challenges.”
Then, as lawmakers al-Kilani and Mustafa al-Teriki held a press conference to deny Zeidan’s charges and call him a “liar”, one of his captors told journalists why the Prime Minister had been seized.
Bizarre TV in #Libya right now – "arrester" of Prime Minister Ali Zidan speaks about why he did it
— Mohamed Madi (@m_madi) October 20, 2013
“It was me who arrested Ali Zeidan, and I’m proud of it,” Abdelmonem Essid, the head of an Interior Ministry anti-crime unit, told journalists in Tripoli.
Essid claimed Zeidan was involved in corruption and declared, “Drugs were seized from Ali Zeidan’s car in June….[There is] no evidence that Zeidan enjoys immunity”.