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article imageCanadian killed in fighting in Benghazi Libya

By Ken Hanly     Mar 11, 2016 in World
Benghazi - Owais Egwilla, the son of a former Ottawa cleric, was killed in Benghazi while in an area controlled by the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries.
Khaled Misellati of the Canadian Libyan Community Association, who knew Egwilla, said: “Apparently a bomb fell on that building and the building collapsed on them. He wasn’t fighting.”
The Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries gave a somewhat different account on a Facebook page linked to them, saying Egwilla and another man died "after a battle they waged against a group from the disbelieving forces." These would be forces loyal to General Khalifa Haftar, the commander-in-chief of the Libyan National Army (LNA). According to the intelligence group SITE, his uncle Abdul Rahman Egwilla said on his Facebook: “Allah loved you with martyrdom, which you had sought while you were still young.” Reports say Egwilla was a member of a militia affiliated with the jihadist group Ansar al-Sharia. Ansar al-Sharia is one of several jihadist groups within the Shura Council of Revolutionaries. While the Council opposes the Islamic State, the Ansar al-Sharia militia are regarded as terrorists by some states, including the U.S. The group is thought to be responsible for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that killed the American ambassador. However, Auwais' father, Abdu Albasset Egwilla, said he did not belong to the Islamic State or Ansar al-Sharia. He is reported to be a member of the Omar Al-Mukhtar Brigade. A report by the Canadian government's Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre claims that in an August 14 video, the Auwais' father urged an audience of Islamist fighters to take part in jihad.
Nevertheless, Misellati maintained Egwilla was not an extremist: . “He was absolutely normal. He was in sports and mingling with his friends. He was part of the community here. He was a nice guy...He practically grew up here in Ottawa and he went back. About two years ago he came back here by himself and stayed for some time to study English, I believe, to try to go to school here.” Egwilla was not born in Canada but came here in 2000. He stayed until he finished high school and then went back to Libya.
In the Libya Observer, Auwais father explains his son's motivation in going to fight in Benghazi: “My son, Auwais, wanted to fight the anti-revolution “green-flag holders” in Benghazi, he wanted to fight out of his patriotism as he could not accept that such as the rogue General, Khalifa Haftar, would rule Libya after it had been liberated.” He said, stressing that Auwais represents the only legitimate government in Libya; the General National Congress and the Salvation Government. “My son has always told me that we have tasted the flavor of freedom, we have smelled the liberation aroma everywhere in Libya, and now Haftar and his conspiring followers want to deprive us of those sublime emotions.” However, the internationally recognized government is not the General National Congress (GNC) but the House of Representatives (HoR) in Tobruk. In fighting against the HoR while supporting the GNC and being an Islamist, he will be considered a terrorist by Haftar and many others. Haftar's Operating Dignity begun in May of 2014 is meant to rid Libya of Islamists, including any militias loyal to the GNC. Misellati also suggested his father encouraged his son to fight because he opposed Haftar. His father said his son wanted to go and had asked permission, which he gave.
Somewhat surprisingly, the father had a message of tolerance and forgiveness for those who killed his son telling the Libya Observer: “They killed my son as he was fighting for the good of his homeland, yet I ask them to come and be part of the Libyan-Libyan dialogue, I ask them to disown the UN agreement and the foreign agenda government.” The UN insists there is no alternative to its Government of National Accord (GNA) and sees the Libya-Libya dialogue, that is attempting for forge an agreement between the rival governments through negotiations only with Libyans, as an obstacle to realizing UN plans.
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