By Housam Najjair
Libyan social media pages were awash with claims and counter claims as to the identity of the person killed by the notorious Mahmud Warfally, one of Khalifa Hefters’s main henchmen and commander in the so called Libyan National Army.
On one side were claims that the person in question was a Libyan national by the surname of Gharyani, living in the area of Sabri in Benghazi and the opposing side claiming that he was an Algerian who came to Libya to join ISIS and kill Libyans.
A video surfaced apparently showing the deceased in an interview declaring his name and nationality AbuAzza from Wahran in Algeria. He stated that he came to Libya to join ISIS and gave a brief description of his background and reasons for coming to Libya.
The problem of course with such videos and confessions is that it is impossible to confirm that the information given was not coerced from the deceased and the fact that army personnel and commanders should not possess the rank of judge, jury and executioner.
Whether the deceased was Algerian or Libyan, the deceased should have been afforded his basic human rights as a prisoner of war as is stipulated in the Geneva convention bringing to question the repetitive violations by this Mahmud Warfally who has made it his trademark to film his executions.
Mahmud Warfally is a commander on the western battlefront for Khalifa Hefter’s army, becoming more known after his psychopathic and sadistic behavior when his forces entered Ganfuda late last March when he was filmed with his group, exhuming the graves of dead opposition fighters then parading their bodies on the bonnets of their vehicles before hanging them on the walls of their base.
He was also filmed committing summary executions on public streets and wherever he found a prisoner of war. He receives his justification for such actions by fatwas from radical Salafist scholars including Abdul-Fittah Ben Ghalboon. (photo: Warfally (R) next to his Mufti Ben Ghalboon (L))
All of this falls on the backdrop of another mission, which struck ISIS in its main stronghold in Sirt named operation Bunyan Maroos.
Fighters mainly from Misrata and other western cities took on the main body of ISIS in Libya losing 700 men and injuring thousands more in the process. But the most prominent difference between the scenario in Sirt and Benghazi is the general behavior of the forces and their fight against ISIS.
In Sirt, the Bunyan Maroos fighters rounded up tens of fighters and rescued their families by providing clear paths for surrendering themselves, provoking the question, did Bunyan Marsoos fighters and command conduct their war with such rules on a humanitarian, religious or even sympathetic reason in comparison to the forces of Khalifa Hafter?
Alternatively, was it because they are a more professional army adhering to the Geneva Convention laws on warfare?
The question remains and will be increasingly emphasized as Khalifa Hefter’s forces continue to commit crimes against humanity.
As long as they push forward to claim victory in Benghazi and with no direct condemnation or punishment against their actions as in Ganouda, there is little doubt that Mahmud Warfally and his soldiers will not change their attitude of capture and kill in the remaining areas of Sabri and Sooq Alhoot.
Housam Najjair, a Libyan freelancer journalist