French security contractor shot dead in Libya’s Benghazi
Update AP May 13, 2011 3pm est
BENGHAZI, Libya — The head and founder of a French military contracting company was killed in an accidental discharge of a weapon in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi as he was arguing about his team getting arrested, a rebel commander said Friday.
In Paris, the private military company SECOPEX Conseil said Pierre Marziali died Thursday at a Benghazi hospital after being wounded at a checkpoint as he and colleagues were leaving a restaurant overnight.
Marziali, 48, died hours before a planned meeting with the transitional government of rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s forces. He was in Libya to set up a security guard service and a “secure corridor” on the road to Cairo, the company said.
France’s government has been a major backer of the rebels. France’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that five Frenchmen were detained at a police checkpoint and that one was shot and later died in the hospital. It provided no names for the five.
In Benghazi, a rebel commander, Abdel-Basat Elshaheibi told The Associated Press that the four other Frenchmen who were with Marziali were subsequently detained at “a secret place” on suspicion of spying. He did not elaborate or say who the Frenchmen were suspected of spying for.
He said the shooting incident occurred around 1 a.m. Thursday on the street of a residential Benghazi suburb where the men had been staying. Please read more here
A 49-year-old French man died on Thursday after an incident at a police checkpoint in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the French Foreign Ministry said on Thurday. The ministry also said that four other French nationals were arrested in the incident.
“During a police checkpoint in Benghazi last night, five French nationals were arrested. One of them was shot and died during the night at the Benghazi hospital,” said ministry spokesman Bernard Valero in a statement.
Valero did not specify whether the French had been wounded by a police officer or another person. Many other details about the incident remain unknown.
“The men were working for a private security firm called Secopex,” said FRANCE 24 correspondent Nathan King, reporting from Benghazi. “They were on a road leading to a town just outside of Benghazi called Soluch. We have reliable sources telling us that another man may be dead.”
In Paris, the Foreign Ministry gave no indication as to the men’s identities and functions, as well as the reasons for their presence outside the rebel-controlled city.
According to King, Secopex has been operating in Libya for a while, providing private protection for certain people. “We don’t know why they were there, but what we do know about this town, Soluch, is that it’s not really safe. There are reports of pro-Gaddafi elements in that town,” King said read more here
ExPatica.com May 12, 2011
A French private security contractor was shot dead and four others were arrested in a murky incident at a checkpoint in the Libyan rebel stronghold of Benghazi, officials and sources said Thursday.
“During a police check in Benghazi last night, five French nationals were detained,” French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said.
“One of them was wounded by a bullet and died overnight in a hospital in Benghazi” while the other four remain in detention, he added, confirming a report by a doctor at the hospital.
The French statement did not say who fired the bullet that killed the contractor in Benghazi, which is far from the frontline in the Libyan conflict and which at the moment is a relatively safe city.
Rebel officials provided no details and would not confirm that they were holding the four men from France, which is the strongest backer of the rebels seeking to oust Moamer Kadhafi.
European diplomatic sources here said the men were former French soldiers prospecting for new contracts in Benghazi for a France-based security company which operates mostly in French-speaking Africa.
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