Tripoli – Gunmen claiming to be members of the Islamic State (ISIS) group have seized control of a state-run radio station in Libya’s coastal city of Sirte, residents said on Friday.Jihadist websites also posted pictures showing armed men sitting in front of microphones in a broadcasting studio and brandishing Kalashnikov assault rifles.
“They took Radio Sirte yesterday [Thursday]. Since then they have been broadcasting [verses from] the Qur’an and speeches by [ISIS chief Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi,” a resident said. The resident said speeches of IS spokesperson Abu Mohammed al-Adnani were also being played on the air.
A former local administration official said the gunmen have also set up a headquarters in the centre of the city, and voiced concern that they could declare an Islamic emirate in Sirte.
“They could take advantage of the absence of any central government authority to transform the city into an Islamic emirate as they did in Derna,” an eastern city held by jihadist groups including IS.
The man, who declined to be named, said the gunmen apparently seized the radio “as a first step to communicate with the population”. - AFP