Libya ex-air force chief murdered in Benghazi

2014-09-18 18:17

Benghazi - A former Libyan air force chief was shot dead overnight in the country's violence-ridden second city of Benghazi, medical and army sources said on Thursday.

"Unidentified gunmen killed former air force chief of staff general Ahmed Habib al-Mesmari in the Al-Hadaek district" in the city centre, a senior air base officer in Benghazi told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Mesmari stood down as air force chief of staff in April after attending a meeting with renegade general Khalifa Haftar whom the then authorities in Tripoli accused of staging a coup d'etat.

A hospital source in Benghazi said he had been "hit by several bullets".

Since dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s regime was ousted in 2011, dozens of military figures have been assassinated in Benghazi.

For several months, the city has seen clashes between army forces loyal to Haftar and Islamist militias, including Ansar al-Sharia jihadists.

The Libyan authorities and the United States consider Ansar al-Sharia to be a "terrorist" group.

On May 16, Haftar's forces launched an offensive against the jihadists in Benghazi, but his campaign has not been a success.

On Wednesday, the Islamists launched another assault on Benghazi airport, Haftar's final redoubt.

There has been almost daily fighting between Haftar's forces and the militias, which now control nearly all of Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 uprising.

  • Bongani Hlongwa - 2014-09-18 20:47

    Since the outsting and murder of Gaddafi, Libya has become a playground of all murderers, and people are being killed like flies. This is a sad new face of Libya which would never have taken shape whilst Gaddafi was still in control. Not that Gaddafi was an angel; for sure he was a cruel dictator responsible for many deaths. But of late, he was trying his level best to please the International Community, especially the West. If he had been handled right, and told in no uncertain terms that he must treat his people with respect, and allow human rights to prevail in Libya; and further told that failure to do so would force the International Community to support his outsting, he would have definitely toed the line, without any loss of life and destruction of property. This hell which Libya is now, would never had seen the dawn of the day.

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