Wednesday, September 26, 2012

From shrines to the martyr

22/9 Libya, crowds drive islamist militias from their bases in Benghazi.(BBC WS, C4N)
25/9, a very brief report: "The Libyan rebel fighter who found Colonel Gaddafi hiding in a tunnel in Sirte has died. *Oman Shaban / Shavan* [interviewed October 2011] has reportedly died from injuries after being seized and held for more than 50 days by pro-Gaddafi elements in Bani Walid." (Channel 4 News, 25/9, 19:20).  

This is driving me crazy - I can't find mention of it anywhere else, even googling it doesn't help.
Lindsey Hilsum has some information on the destruction of shrines in Libya. She also tweeted this:

 Three Salafists reported dead following clashes with locals defending Sufi shrines

The incident took place yesterday in the town of Rajma, some 35 kilometres from Benghazi, when local residents sought to defend the Sidi Al-Lafi mausoleum from the extremists. ...

Whereas the security forces did nothing to stop the desecration of three Sufi shrines in Tripoli, Zliten and Misrata, a battalion of the army’s Libya Shield brigade is said to have intervened to stop the fighting, albeit belatedly. Two of the battalion’s vehicles were reported to have sustained damage, and the house of a local resident was burned down.This is the first time that Salafists have been challenged and killed in their campaign to eradicate Sufism in Libya.

On 23 August they committed huge damage to the Abdul-Salam Al-Asmar Al-Fituri shrine in Zliten, apparently taking advantage of separate clashes there that had left at least three dead.On 25 August, another mausoleum, that of Sheikh Ahmed Al-Zarruq, was targeted in nearby Misrata, the same day that the Al-Sha’ab shrine in Tripoli was also hit. In the latter instance the Salafists returned with an automatic digger to continue the destruction over a period of 48 hours.
Once the Libya Herald site is found, it's easy to find the full story on ... Omran Shaban
 The Libyan revolutionary said to have been the first to discover Muammar Qaddafi last year died today at the American Hospital in Paris.
Shaban, who hailed from Misrata, was himself critically injured earlier this year after he was captured in the former pro-Qaddafi stronghold of Bani Walid. Together with a colleague, Shaban had been dispatched to the western hill-town on 12 July as part of the Libya Shield brigade, following the capture of two prominent Misratan journalists there four days earlier.

Said to have been shot in the neck, Shaban is believed to have been severely tortured over the course of a two-month custody in Bani Walid, purportedly on account of his role in Qaddafi’s capture. [National Congress President Mohamed Magarief] had himself led the negotiations which led to Shaban’s eventual release.
Update 18/10 ...  pro-govenment militia shell Bani Walid, believed to be still effectively controlled by Gaddafi sympathisers (al Jazeera, 10:15) link ...

20/10 breaking news - Moussa Ibrahim captured near Bani Walid (al Jazeera, 15:55) not confirmed (BBC WS, 21:00)

22/10 00:00 many flee Bani Walid as  pro-govenment forces shell ... protest in Tripoli (BBC WS)

23/10 gov forces continue attack on Bani Walid, report from outskirts  (al Jazeera, 10:00)

25 October 2012, 00:14 -  A government official told the BBC's Rana Jawad that forces have taken control of the main hospital, the local radio station and the airport. But some pockets of resistance still remain, our correspondent reports. (Libyan forces 'capture ex-Gaddafi bastion Bani Walid' )