Fear slows Libyan probe into attack on US envoy in Benghazi

By REUTERS
December 19, 2012 18:45

 
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TRIPOLI/BENGHAZI, Libya - A Libyan reluctance to crack down on suspected Islamist groups behind the deadly attack on the US Benghazi mission highlights the failure of police and courts to stamp their authority and may open the way for militants to strengthen their grip.

The September 11 assault, in which US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, was the most high profile attack in post-war Libya and yet no significant arrests have been made and witnesses say they have yet to be questioned.

Seeking justice remains a tough task in the oil-producing North African state, where authorities - overwhelmed without an effective army or police force at their disposal - have little power to protect citizens or confront criminal suspects.

"They are afraid and they don't have the power to face these people, who could just get stronger and stronger," an official from Libya's former interim leadership said.

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