News / Middle East

    Libyan Cities Struggle to Contain Crime Wave

    A security officer patrols the city ahead of Libya's two-year anniversary marking the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi, Benghazi, Feb. 12, 2013.
    A security officer patrols the city ahead of Libya's two-year anniversary marking the ouster of Moammar Gadhafi, Benghazi, Feb. 12, 2013.
    Assailants recently invaded Ashraf Abdul Wahab's house while he was away and at gunpoint evicted his wife, two young sons, and 70-year-old mother. The seventh such house in this Tripoli district to have been taken over by petty criminals and drug-dealers, prosecutors say Wahab's is one of more than 100 similar home invasions citywide.
     
    “I feel that Libya gets crushed in a wall because there is no security at the moment," says Wahab, explaining that he has nowhere to turn.
     
    In addition to seeking help from police, the 47-year-old local journalist has even appealed to Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, who this week himself asked Western and Arab allies at a conference in Paris for assistance with the country's deteriorating domestic security.
     
    Struggling to contain a crime wave that is affecting everyday life, Libya's major cities have seen a rash of assassinations, kidnappings and carjackings. From the deputy head of the national Fire Service to the chairman of a major manufacturing company, the capital has been particularly hard hit by the abduction
     
    In a post-Arab Spring Tripoli where insecurity is becoming a part of everyday life, the government has begun to rely on revolutionary militias — the same ones it pledged to disband after the fall of late dictator Moammar Gadhafi — to aid in a crackdown on crime.
     
    But even that isn’t helping. While Zeidan ordered a roundup of the criminals who invaded Ashraf’s house, his family has not yet returned home and no arrests have been made.
     
    “I spoke to Dr. Ali Zeidan himself face to face, alone in his office and I told him my problem," says Wahab. "He responded as I told you, but ... after that everything is as it is.”
     
    Some Sedan’s government is at a loss, forced into a dilemma where crime-fighting militias are themselves contributing to insecurity.
     
    The Nawaz militia, for example, a hardcore Islamist brigade, has been battling drug dealers, and their nightly firefights have been echoing around the capital's Ben Ashour district.
     
    But the Nawasi brigade has also been accused of rounding up gays, and last year its members were involved in the illegal destruction of an historic Sufi mosque.
     
    Abd al-Wahhab Muhammad Qaid, chairman of the parliament’s national security committee, says things will be better when the militias are integrated into the armed forces.
     
    “The interior minister has a very ambitious plan: they plan to absorb all of these people you mention," he says.
     
    But Qaid also urges patience, and says that establishing law and order will take time.
     
    This isn’t music to Ashraf’s ears, who says he would return home but worries about his family.
     
    “I am not afraid to get back, but I am afraid for my family because of the ... weapons around the country, somebody [could] shoot one of my kids or my wife or my mother," he says. "This is my problem now.”
     
    It is also Libya’s problem.

    You May Like

    Russian-speaking Muslim Exiles Fear Possible Russia-Turkey Thaw

    Exiled from Russia as Islamic radicals and extremists, thousands found asylum in Turkey

    US Presidential Election Ends at Conventions for Territorial Citizens

    Citizens of US territories like Guam or Puerto Rico enjoy participation in US political process but are denied right to vote for president

    UN Syria Envoy: 'Devil Is in the Details' of Russian Aleppo Proposal

    UN uncertain about the possible humanitarian impact of Russian proposal to establish escape corridors in Aleppo

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Anonymous
    February 21, 2013 6:20 PM
    Congratulations NATO, for bringing "freedom" to Libya.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United Statesi
    X
    July 28, 2016 2:16 AM
    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora