Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat- A Libyan official has denied yesterday’s claim by a Libyan opposition organization of widespread operations to smuggle large quantities of weapons across the Libyan-Tunisian borders to various Tunisian cities during the past days.
The Libyan official, who asked to remain unidentified, told Asharq Al-Awsat in a telephone call from the capital Tripoli: “This is false and untrue information. We are not undertaking any action which can be considered interference in the Tunisian people’s internal affairs.” He added: “Those spreading these rumors do not want welfare for Libyan-Tunisian relations and do not want Tunisia’s security and stability. We are certainly watching the situation there and worried by what is happening but are not interfering in the affairs of others.”
It is recalled that Libyan Leader Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi, chairman of the Arab summit and the Maghreb Union, had criticized the Tunisian people’s uprising which overthrow the regime of his former ally Zine El Abidine Ben Ali whom he considered still the legitimate president of the country.
The National Front for the Salvation of Libya condemned what it called Libya’s attempts to sow sedition and chaos in Tunisia and warned in a statement all the political, civilian, and military parties in Tunisia of the consequences of these moves that are aimed at striking the Tunisian uprising and thwarting the radical change movement which the popular uprising in Tunisia is achieving, according to it.
On the other hand, the front reiterated yesterday information that the Libyan authorities were working at forming committees in the Libyan armed forces to launch a campaign of arrests among the ranks of the Libyan army’s officers, two days only after a Libyan news agency close to Engineer Saif-al-Islam, Col. al-Gaddafi’s second son, leveled rare and unprecedented criticisms of the Libyan army demanding its restructuring and modernization.
Amid the fears that the current contagion in Tunisia might spread to Libya, the Libyan Government ordered all the mosques’ imams to unify the Friday prayers sermon tomorrow to make its theme the “troubles” caused by some citizens when they illegally broke into many housing projects in various parts of the country.
Ibrahim Abdul-Salam, the secretary (minister) of awqaf and zakat affairs, said “the next sermon will urge all the citizens to comply with the teaching of Islam which call for tolerance, order, and not attacking the Muslim brother”, adding that the recent troubles caused by some Libyan citizens had nothing to do at all with our Islam or our Islamic values. The standing national committee of young journalists also launched a campaign on the (social) Facebook website urging renunciation of gangster-like actions under the slogan of “no to theft and looting.”
Libyan sources said 214 persons were arrested in connection with the theft and looting during the raids on housing projects in various parts and cities of Libya.