Libya's unnoticed terror region

Libya's unnoticed terror region

July 24, 2016 - 13:15
Posted in:
Written By: AbdullahBenIbrahim

As fighting goes on in Sirte to eradicate ISIS terrorists, another kind of terror went unnoticed in western Libya.

In Wirshiffana region, heinous crimes are being committed every day. Authorities here as well as the international community are concerned about ISIS, but gangsters and terror groups in Wirshiffana are left free to commit killings and kidnapping.

Locals in western Libya say ISIS and Wirshiffana kidnap gangs are two sides of the same coin. The only difference is that ISIS is using false interpretations of Islam to justify their crimes, but Wirshiffana gangs do not pay attention to that. They are a bunch of criminals and drug addicts who kidnap for ransom. If a ransom is not paid, the victim will be executed immediately. They kill elderlies, men, women, girls, boys, and children with no mercy.

Wirshiffana region lies on the Mediterranean just close to Tripoli's western outskirt of Janzour. It's under the control of so-called Tribes' Army, an affiliate to Khalifa Hafter's Dignity Operation in the east. Many of Wirshiffana gangs are still loyal to slain Gaddafi's regime despite their joining to Dignity Operation.

In one of the latest heinous killing, a 65-year old man was tortured and then murdered by Wirshiffana gangsters. Saied Shariha, from Kabou town in Nafousa Mountain, was hanged to death after his poor family could not pay the LYD 800.000 ransom.

"Daesh is better than Wirshiffana gangs," a Kabou local said.

Abduction for ransom has become a flourishing business there. Truck and taxi drivers are refusing to go there and residents of the mountain cities in the west, who used to pass through Wirshiffana, have redirected their route to a safer way.  

"I would not go there even if I was offered a thousand diners for a trip," a taxi drives says.

The coastal road that links Tripoli to Zawiya has been closed for more than year now. Residents of Zawia, Sabratha, Zuwara and other costal towns are using boats and helicopters to visit their relatives or do business in Tripoli.  

Passing through Wirshiffana is great risk. Last March, a local from Zawia had to drive to Tripoli to save his sick daughter, but he was brutally murdered.

In May, a nine-year old boy was abducted and murdered after a ransom was not paid.

In March, the terrorists beheaded hostage Talal Shaikhi and hanged his decapitated head in a shop.

In February, the terrorists hanged a 12-year old boy after his family failed to be the requested ransom.

In December 2015, two civilians from the Gharyan were killed by shots in the heads.

Wirshiffana has become a hub for gangsters and highwaymen since the return of so-called Tribes Army to the region as per a unilateral ceasefire between the Tribes Army and Misrata's Al-Halboos brigade.

The ceasefire was rejected by the GNC and the Fatwa House, which both insisted on cracking down on the region's criminals first. Both were accused by Dignity Operation media outlets of obstructing peace and inciting bloodshed in the country. Those who supported the ceasefire said they wanted peace, but only panic and bloodshed have prevailed since then.

Human rights organizations and the UN Support Mission in Libya have turned a deaf ear to the daily killing in Wirshiffana and focused on other issues that only serve their interests in Libya.

A Satirist wrote: "If Wirshiffana kidnap gangs deposit their money in the banks, Libya's cash shortage crisis would end immediately."

 

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