By William Tucker
The newly appointed head of the Benghazi Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Abdulsalam Al-Mihdawi, and an associate were kidnapped by gunmen while waiting at a stop light. There isn’t much information to go on as to the culprits behind the attack, although eyewitnesses to the kidnapping claimed the attackers were militant Islamists. Benghazi has suffered from regular violence in the last few months resulting in the November assassination of Faraj al-Deirsy, the head of Benghazi police, and the attack on the U.S. consulate that killed the ambassador back in September. In this recent case it appears as if the CID officer was travelling along a predictable route that allowed for the gunmen to lay an ambush. This is one of the reasons why foreign service officers and other U.S. government officials are trained to vary their routes to and from frequently visited destinations. Violence in Libya isn’t much of a surprise given the lack of government control in the country, and we can expect that these events will continue to occur. Although many in Benghazi are not engaged in the violence, Tripoli has had a difficult time reigning in the various violent movements. The national government is using both the police and military to battle these militants, but thus far has had mixed results. Without broader foreign assistance to train these forces, Libya will continue to struggle and these militant attacks will continue to occur.
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