29 Jul 2011

Younes: a traitor.. not a traitor !

Nobody knew what to expect as we headed to Benghazi's local version of Tahrir Square, called Courthouse Square. We were going anyway to cover the usual Friday prayers. Abdul Fattah Younes, the top commander of the rebels' army was killed yesterday in very mysterious circumstances.

The streets were as calm as ever.. just like any other morning. The usual armed men outside Tibesty Hotel had disappeared last night after the shootings. They are now back.

Upon our arrival to the square we were surprised to find that the funeral of Younes was actually about to take place, just then ! There was actually a coffin.. even two. One was Younes' and the other was that of one the two officers killed with him. So does that mean they found the body? We had been told yesterday that there was no body.

Would there be a funeral without a body? I found out late at night that the body had been burned. That was probably the reason why Mustapha Abdul Jalil, the head of the Transitional National Council said they were looking for the body.

I found a young man sitting on one side of the square, eyes filled with tears. He turned out to be Younes' son. He told me the body was indeed in the coffin but he would not tell me when they had found it, where or how.

The atmosphere was of utmost sadness. 

Last Friday when I came to the square it was very touching to see women sobbing over the martyrs. But today it was the men shedding tears. I saw depressed faces. I saw shock in their eyes. I felt sorrow in their voices.

Younes was clearly a popular figure in the square. He was called a martyr, like Abdul Jalil had called him. No talk of treason here or of the Council's questioning of Younes. The culprit is : The Fifth Column ---> Gaddafi.

Members of his Special Forces Battalion vowed they would take revenge. His nephew said that his tribe, El Oubaidat, backed the TNC, backed Abdul Jalil. However, let's not forget two things : first, that although this might well be the position of the tribe but he does not speak for the whole tribe, and second that it was not the TNC that issued the arrest warrant for Younes, it was the TNC's Executive Office, namely Ali El Issawi.  While Abdul Jalil is reported to have issued a release order for Younes.. but it was too late then.

The funeral was solemn. The scene of his family members standing in one row as his coffin is being put in the ground was quite powerful. They started firing into the air.. and they kept doing it for more than 10 minutes. It was truly frightening.  It only shows how much respect they hold for Younes.

Behind the scenes, people close to the military told me they had been suspecting for one month that Younes had been in touch with Tripoli and even Cairo. I asked about the presumed wrong coordinates given to NATO, the answer was: naaah that was just a rumour, he did not do that.

Nobody is willing to accuse Younes of treason on the record. Some said to me: we just suspected him, we should not accuse him blindly. The questioning by TNC was supposed to give answers to those suspicions.

One version of the story says he was questioned before he got killed. The official version is that he got killed before he was questioned. It does make a difference, of course !

The head of the armed group that is accused of having shot Younes has been arrested but he did not do it. Someone else in his group did it. I was told that the group used to fight alongside the revolutionaries, but split a while back.

So would the "fifth column" be so good as to infiltrate so perfectly in order to execute such an operation against quite an important man both militarily and politically? If Gaddafi's men are capable of that, then it is quite a concern. Benghazi was thought to have become completely safe.

During the night the "fifth column" is reported to have broken into a prison and freed around 80 pro-Gaddafi prisoners, 60 of which National Security men managed to catch while 20 are still out there.

It is clear there is competition between different factions fighting Gaddafi troops. It is clear there is also a difference between the NTC and its Executive Office. But I guess that is all very normal. Nothing here is homogenous. The only thing that unites people is to go after Gaddafi. 

We get rid of Gaddafi first, said someone at the funeral, then we deal with our own issues.

I suddenly remembered how I had heard a politician say a few days ago: is Abdul Fattah Younes dead yet?  I did not take it seriously then. Little did I know I should well have!

Read my earlier post Younes is .. Dead !
Read more Libya posts
من قتل يونس؟ مقالة اقتبس منها ما قلته عبر الجزيرة على الهواء مباشرة من جنازة عبد الفتاح يونس


Anonymous said...

Libya 's Muslims Brotherhood are the one's who killed Younis, this is the truth, every Libyan know itو even TNC but they fear saying it.

Anonymous said...

thank you very much dima for this summary of the situation. i believe that the circumstances of Younes' dead (if he really is dead - we have still no prove) will have to be cleared from the people there. it is of cource important if Younes died as a traitor or not.

Anonymous said...

And why did you not report what his son said, which was reported by every other "western" journalist except you? "Bring Muammar Back, we want the Green flag back". Does it not fit with your agenda? Or are you are not reporting truth?