Sirraj delegation had terrifying night in Zliten

Sirraj delegation had terrifying night in Zliten

January 09, 2016 - 11:52
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Sirraj delegation in a mourning tent in Zliten

Prime Minister of UN-imposed government Fayaz Sirraj and some members of the presidency council visited Zliten Friday night to offer condolences to the families of victims of police training camp explosion.

Upon their arrival at Misrata Airport under tightening security measures, there were indications of troubles ahead as many protesters gathered outside the airport to express rejection to the visit, which they described as political propaganda.

The delegation left the airport secretly through a back door. It arrived in Zliten safely and offered condolences, but things started to deteriorate as the news of the arrival in Zliten became public. Armed protesters started to gather and blocked the city's entrances in anger.

As the delegation left one of the mourning tents and was on its way back to Misrata, Sirraj motorcade came under heavy fire and diverted to Zliten municipal council for safety. There, other protesters besieged the municipal building and wrangled with Sirraj's bodyguards, mainly from Misrata's Al-Halboos Brigade.

Misrata's Addafniya checkpoint was also closed by angry protesters, adding more headache to Sirraj delegation on how to escape this hell.

In Tripoli, armed brigades also stationed in the eastern gate of Tajoura suburb when rumours spread that Sirraj motorcade would escape from Zliten to Tripoli.

An anti-Sirraj visit member of Zliten municipality Abdul-Salam Ashor declared Sirraj as persona non grata. Shortly, he was abducted by pro-Sirraj gunmen and his fate is still unknown.

As things were getting worse, the Salvation Government intervened to calm the angry protesters down. Spokesperson Mohamed Ismail said his government reached an agreement with the protesters to stop bloodshed and allow Sirraj and his delegation to leave the country.

Eventually, Sirrja delegation managed to leave the country through Misrata Airport safely.

After the departure, there was a car explosion in Misrata. According to press reports from the city, security forces suspected an ambulance and started chasing it, but the suicide bomber blew it up in Bazina Street when he realized that there was no escape. No casualties reported.  

Observers asked: How will this government enter Tripoli in the light of Friday night in Zliten?