Libyan Citizens Hand Over Private Weaponry
In response to an army-led initiative to get arms off the streets, hundreds of citizens turned out in Tripoli and Benghazi to hand in their weapons. “When I saw the announcement on television I came to Benghazi with my wife and son to hand over my weapon to the national army because I want to move from the stage of the revolution to state building,” said Moussa Omr, a former anti-Qaddafi fighter. ”I don’t need this weapon after today, the militias have been expelled from Benghazi and the national army will protect us,” he added. Following the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, the latest effort to curb violence seemed to yield more results than any previous calls had. Colonel Sulaiman Bozagya of the Libyan National Army estimated over 1,000 weapons had been collected, and in excess of 10,000 rounds of ammunition. Participants were also eligible to win raffle prizes such as a car, laptops, and televisions based on the number of weapons they traded in.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has raised concerns over the freedom of information in Libya, citing visa difficulties for foreign journalists and arbitrary arrests of reporters by the Supreme Security Committee. RSF also reported that the SCC had detained Nabil Shebani, managing director of al-Assema TV, for questioning for 10 hours on August 25 over his network’s coverage of the destruction of al-Shaab mosque in Tripoli. RSF said, ”Abuse of power should be a thing of the past. It is true the country is in full transition but the Supreme Security Committee’s high-handed behavior is disturbing.”
Michael Totten called for U.S. leaders to transfer Egypt’s aid package to Libya. He based his comments on the contrast between the countries’ responses to the recent embassy attacks, as well as Libya’s need for support given the proliferation of independent militias. He concluded the risk of an anti-American Libya is worse than anything seen in Egypt thus far.