“It was exactly 18 May 2017 when 155 people were killed in Brak al-Shati, only 20 of these were military, the other 135 martyrs were civilians of whom many young people who were not yet 18 years old. The attack was carried out by extremist groups affiliated to al-Qaeda and Daesh and by the men of the Third Force of Misuratha, controlled by the Presidential Council (PC) of the Government of National Accord (GNA), under the aegis of General Jamal Triki and Mohammed Kulaioan. There were many citizens because the armed men began to capture people along the road that leads to the military base, loading on their vehicles anyone who crossed along their route. It was almost 7 am when the operation started, and they only left at 6 pm, after they had all killed”.
Said Ahmed Benail, president of the Martyrs’ Families Organization of Brak al-Shati who lost his brother Alì in the massacre, with whom he was very attached. I would like to clarify, before starting this interview, that Ahmed revealed the name of a very important member of the Presidential Council, who would have contacted them by phone a week before the massacre to propose an ultimatum: the possibility to join the Third Force. Here, I preferred to not publish this information, convinced that the trials must take place in the courtrooms, but we believe it’s right and due to the victims’ families clarify what is the biggest carnage in Libya since 2011.
-What is the correlation between the Third Force, Daesh and al-Qaeda?
“The Third Force is a militia that for years has been present in the South for the PC of the Government of National Accord, it depends and is financed by the Muslim Brotherhood. While the Third Force was paid by the Presidential Council in an official way from the formation of the National Congress, the groups linked to Daesh and al-Qaeda receive support, albeit less explicitly, from the same political class”.
-What was the reason for this attack?
“This is a rematch against the Almgarh’a tribe and to extend the control of the Presidential Council in the South …”
-This day you lost your brother, can you tell me about him?
“My brother was 33 years old, as all the young Libyans was dreaming a better tomorrow. His name was Ali and I miss him terribly, he followed a master’s degree in Project Management in Malaysia, however the circumstances of our country in particular of the south, forced him to embrace the army to protect his family and his city from criminals and extremists in the absence of the authority of the State. He was a brave young man and father of a seven-day-old girl who could only see one, once before greeting his mother and leaving to never come back”.
– Defense Minister Mahdi al-Barghathi has been suspended for this attack. Do you believe that it’s his responsibility for what happened or is there someone else behind it?
“The Third Force of Misuratha responds to the PC and Mahdi al-Barghathi is the Defence minister of this government. The commander of the Third Force is Jamal Al-Treiki, who said he had received instructions from President Fayez al-Serraj and Vice President Abdul Salam Kajman. Ahmed Hisnawy leader of al-Qaeda also participated to the operations, as you said in a video showing him in the car with the black flag used by Daesh. There is audio evidences and other mark to prove it. Al Treiki now is disappeared, his phone is unattainable to everyone and is said to have been turned away from Libya, not to mention these facts “.
-Also Minister al-Barghathi accuses President Fayez al Serraj, is that so?
“Yes, the Minister Barghathi has collaborated with the investigation and is ready to answer for his responsibilities before a local or international court. He asked in various media interventions to be revealed the results of the investigations carried out by the Ministry of Justice committee, although I don’t expect this committee, which has not even contacted the families, is honest or genuine. Furthermore, it must be considered that this committee is under the influence of the Government of National Accord and its militias. For this reason, Barghathi wrote a letter to the Presidential Council and at the same time to the House of Representatives in Tobruk. We families of the victims also asking for justice and perpetrators prosecuted, regardless of the role they play”.
– 155 victims, I believe it can be considered a genocide if not a war crime. Have you already contacted the International Criminal Court (ICC)?
“The family organization of the Martyrs of Brak el-Shati, of which I am president, was founded recently and we are followed by a group of volunteer lawyers who are helping us gather the evidence and facts to be presented to the ICC prosecutor, to investigate this event that represents an ethnic genocide or a war crime against humanity. We are in contact with various humanitarian organizations, to whom we have exposed the terrible story with lots of videos and photos, as well as pointing out that this is not the first crime committed in the Libyan south by mylitias of the GNA, supported by the international community that doesn’t move a finger against them”.
-Do you want to make an appeal? What would you like to ask?
“There are hundred Libby widows, over 50 houses have been destroyed, hundreds of children no longer have a father and there is not a Government, not Tobruk nor Tripoli, dealing with them. We ask the truth for the 155 martyrs and the attention of the world to southern Libya, which alone is facing terrorism, crime and illegal immigration”.