Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—The head of Libya’s military police force, Ahmed Al-Barghathi, was shot and killed by unknown gunmen outside of his residence in Benghazi on Friday, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.
Friday’s assassination was the latest to hit the fragile Tripoli government struggling to rein in Islamist militias who became influential following the fall of the Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in 2011.
Libyan military general command announced the death of Bargathi who was among the first officers to join the February 17 revolution. Following the Gaddafi regime’s fall, he was placed in charge of the country’s police apparatus.
Barghathi is the most senior military figure to have been assassinated thus far. His death comes in the week that Libya gears up to mark the second annivarsary of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s execution.
The Libyan army’s General Command issued a statement pledging that it “will not hesitate to pursue the perpetrators and bring them to justice.”
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a Benghazi medical source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that Barghathi died in hospital after being shot twice in the head and chest.
No group or individual has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Military spokesman Ali Sheikhi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the army’s chief-of-staff will hold an urgent meeting with military leaders on Sunday to discuss ideas and plans to ensure the security of Libya’s military command.
“We cannot accuse one specific side only. There are several sides that do not want the army to rise because this will accelerate the development of the state and this does not serve their interests,” Sheikhi told Asharq Al-Awsat.
As for which “sides” could be responsible for Barghathi’s death, Sheikhi said that this includes “criminals and some former regime figures as well as extremist groups.”
“Every day we lose military and security personnel and this must be stopped immediately,” he said.
Sheikhi also informed Asharq Al-Awsat that the group that had kidnapped the son of minister of defense Abdullah Al-Thani said they would only release their hostage if Al-Thani resigned.