The Internal Security affiliated with Khalifa Haftar has described former Government of National Accord (GNA) Defense Minister Mehdi al-Barghathi and a group loyal to him as a “ sabotage cell” and considers them terrorists, while close associates of al-Barghathi deny his intention to form any armed action in Benghazi.
The Benghazi Internal Security said that the so-called Salmani sabotage cell, which allegedly tried to destabilize the city, had received a painful blow, referring to former Defense Minister al-Barghathi who recently returned to the city. The agency added that it had taken down al-Barghathi and his group completely, explaining that the delay in publishing news of al-Barghathi’s arrest was to ensure taking down the rest of his cell in several areas.
The Deputy Minister of the Interior in the HoR designated government, Faraj Guaim, threatened to “strike with an iron fist” activists and bloggers in Benghazi, describing the forces led by al-Barghathi as terrorist cells. Guaim warned in a video recording tribesmen not to communicate with al-Barghathi’s forces, accusing them of cutting telecommunication cables to Benghazi.
For its part, Benghazi Municipality condemned the entry of al-Barghathi and his accompanying group into the city, describing them as “saboteurs”. The municipality affirmed in a statement it’s standing with the security and military forces in the city in order to maintain security and stability.
On the other hand, Abdul Salam Abdul Atti, a tribal leader in the Al-Brigatha tribe, called for distancing the tribe from the issue of “al-Mahdi al-Brigatha” and those with him, claiming that it is not a social issue and that it is a military issue and subject to military law.
The United Nations mission expressed concern over the armed clashes in Benghazi and continued communication blackout from the city for days. The mission called on authorities in eastern Libya to urgently restore all communications in Benghazi after being cut last Friday. The UN mission pointed out that it continues to investigate reports of civilian casualties, reminding all parties involved in the clashes to respect their obligations to protect civilians.