Pilgrims from Al-Zawiya and Sabratha arrived in Tripoli on Sunday after performing the fifth pillar of Islam in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. They were expected to drive home but the so-called Tribes Army bandits, mostly from Wirshiffana tribe, were an obstacle.
The pilgrims returned home from Tripoli by boats to avoid highway kidnapping and robbery. More than 30 local residents from Al-Zawiya were abducted last week and they are still missing.
There is a growing anger among Al-Zawiya residents who marched in the streets of the city on Sunday to condemn the abduction of their locals by Wirshiffana bandits. The residents threatened to block the highway and close Al-Zawiya refinery if a government action against those bandits was not taken.
Last month, pilgrims from Zuwara and Sabratha had to hire a private plane to fly to Mitiga Airport in Tripoli from where they left to Mecca to perform the annual Hajj season.
In 2013, a convoy of Gharyan pilgrims was robbed by Wirshiffana bandits in Al-Zahra district.
Janzour Security Department declared In July the road from Tripoli to Al-Zawiya as unsafe, calling on the passers-by and travelers to Tunisia to take the necessary precautions while driving on the road.
The Tribes Army is now in control of the highway from Tripoli to Al-Zawiya following the agreement reached between Misrata's Halboos and Mahjoob brigades and Wirshiffana tribe, which is still loyal to the former regime of slain Gaddafi, with the aim to stop bloodshed.
The agreement paved the way for the Tribes Army and affiliated bandits, who claimed victory over Libya Dawn, to return to the highway to rob and kidnap passers-by.