“Get in the car, don’t walk around,” came the order. “There are drive-by shootings here.” Under the cover of darkness, the Benghazi ‘protection squad’ gathered. Speaking in muted, tense tones, clutching loaded guns, the men began the hunt.
Across Benghazi city, the capital of the Libyan opposition movement, armed squads are being dispatched to crack down on supporters of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime. In just a few weeks, hundreds have been arrested in the night raids.
In swift, silent convoy they drive across the city, targeting the homes of suspected loyalists. Al Jazeera English’s correspondent gained rare access to spend a night with a squad.
The fifteen armed men drove to a farmhouse just outside Benghazi. The choice of target had been discussed back at their base, in an office strewn with handwritten papers; the intelligence on potential suspects.