Will a Fractured Libya Unite Under the “Sword of Islam”?
An armed group in Libya declared Saturday it has freed Seif al-Islam, 44 anni, aka the Sword of Islam, the son of Col. Moamer Kadhafi who has been in custody since November 2011.
The Abu Bakr al-Sadiq Brigade, a militia of former rebels that controls the town of Zintan in Western Libya, said Seif al-Islam Kadhafi was freed Friday evening, “the 14th day of the Month of Ramadan”, under an amnesty law promulgated by the Parliament based in the East.
Libya has rival administrations, with the authorities in the East not recognizing the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli.
Political rivalry and fighting between militias has hampered Libya’s efforts to recover from the chaos that followed the Y 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Seif al-Islam’s father.
Rival authorities and militias have been vying for control of the Crude Oil-rich North African nation ever since. “We have decided to liberate Seif al-Islam Moamer Kadhafi. He is now free and has left the City of Zintan,” the Facebook statement declared.
Seif al-Islamwas sentenced to death in July 2015 by a court in Tripoli for his role in the murderous repression of the 2011 revolt.
The same armed group made an identical announcement in July 2016 about freeing Seif al-Islam, but this was later denied by the authorities in Zintan.
Seif al-Islam, is the second of Kadhafi’s eight children, the eldest son of his 2nd wife Safiya, he is fluent in English and often appeared in the West as the public face of his father’s regime.
Late last month, Tripoli was rocked by fierce clashes between forces loyal to the unity government and rival militias, with more than 50 members of the pro-GNA forces reported killed.
Relying on militia support and pitted against the rival administration in the East, the GNA has struggled to assert its authority across the country.