BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - The family of the Libyan rebels’ slain military commander said on Monday little effort was being made to find out who had killed him in what they called an act involving conspiracy, treason and betrayal.
General Abdel Fattah Younes was shot dead on Thursday with two aides at some point after he was summoned back from the front line by the Transitional National Council (TNC), the rebel leadership in their stronghold of Benghazi.
After two days of confusion, rebels said the assailants were militiamen allied to the rebels in their struggle to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi, raising questions about divisions and lawlessness within rebel ranks.
“Unfortunately, the Transitional National Council is acting very negatively with this case until now,” Muatsem Abdel Fattah Younes told Reuters in an interview at his late father’s ranch.
He said if a committee formed to investigate the killing made little headway, the family would turn for help to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which has issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi over alleged crimes against humanity.
“This is a clear and direct warning: if this committee fails or drags on, we will refer the case to the international tribunal,” he said.
Family members say they have received scant details from the TNC on the circumstances of his death and that no steps have been made to question those behind it.
“The investigation committee has not yet been formed, there has been no decision about the members of this committee,” said Mohammed Hamed Younes, a nephew of the dead general.
For years Younes was in Gaddafi’s inner circle before defecting in February at the start of the rebels’ uprising to become their military chief.
His family called on the TNC to reveal the truth behind the killing, which they called a conspiracy that has served Gaddafi.
Muatsem said he only found out his father was dead when television aired a news conference. He said he had talked to Younes on Thursday at 2 a.m. after he heard that armed men had surrounded his father’s headquarters in the town of Ajdabiya.
“He told me that everything was okay, that he was sitting with his people,” he said.
Younes had gone with the armed men to prevent bloodshed between them and his soldiers.
Bodyguards who accompanied him on the way to Benghazi were stopped by armed men and stripped of their weapons.
Younes’s body, and those of two officers with him, were found on Friday in the suburbs of Benghazi, burned and with gunshot wounds.
Officials say a militiaman was arrested and confessed his subordinates had killed them, but have not given details.
Younes’s nephew said it seemed there had never been any real plan to question him when he was recalled to Benghazi.
“If there was an intention to investigate him, they could have called him and he would have followed orders, but there was no intention of that,” he said. “From the start, there was an intention of betrayal and treason.”
Edited by Richard Meares