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Baniwalid, The Second Intifadha

At the beginning of May 2001, the city of Baniwalid was sealed off from the rest of the country and the world. Half a dozen of security agencies form all over the country moved into the city during Colonel Qaddfi’s visit to Uganda, East Africa, and arrested tens of people.

The inhabitants of the city were surprised by the large number of roadblocks in and outside their city. Since October 1993, it’s a routine action that the security forces increase its activities in Baniwalid when Qaddafi travels abroad, but the number of the participants and the suspension of the local officers, (Known locally Al-Aomalaa), could be related to the recent news of an attempted coup staged by group of army officers from Baniwalid including some members of The Revolutionary Guards.

Some of the released students said that, during their interrogation, the security officers asked them about their knowledge of a plot to assassinate Colonel Qaddafi by Warfally group. One of the arrested and later released was the deputy military governor of Baniwalid, the most hated person in the city, who was responsible of the shooting at the demonstrators in March 1994. There were rumours that he killed himself that has shown to be not true.

The national and international telephone lines were not available for three weeks. Those draconian action of the security forces of Colonel Quaddaffi instigated violent actions from the students in the colleges in Nalout and Tripoli, where scores of students from Baniwalid were arrested in medical, dentistry and law campuses, and accused of counter revolution, sabotage and arsenal activities. The security forces established an operating room under the control of Abdullahi A-Sanousi and Mohammad Al-mesraty, and carried out pre-dawn raids on the university campus and Al-Dhahra district of Baniwalid, to prevent the repetition of the previous events of 1994-1995, which were known as Baniwalid Intifada following the attempted coup of October 1993.

During that period many buildings, housing Qaddafi apparatus were torched including, the revolution propaganda centre, revolutionary committee, and Ideology Training Centre (Madrast Al-Tarbiah Al-Aqaiydiah). About 600 people were arrested and 25 were jailed from two years to 15 years according to The Amnesty International report.

Saleh Mansour

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