British say weapons they left at U.S. consulate in Benghazi are missing

 

McClatchy Newspapers

When British diplomats abandoned their offices in Benghazi over the summer after the British ambassador’s motorcade was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, their security detail left its weapons and vehicles in the custody of the U.S. consulate in that eastern Libyan city.

Now that cache of weapons is missing amid signs that the Islamist militants suspected in the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. consulate and a nearby annex remain active, despite Libyan government demands that they disband.

The June 11 attack on British Ambassador Sir Dominic Asquith as he drove through Benghazi is among a list of 230 security incidents, 48 in Benghazi alone, that U.S. officials compiled to show how dangerous Libya had become. Two of Asquith’s security guards were wounded in the attack. In contrast to the Americans, who remained in Benghazi, the British determined that the city was too dangerous and closed their offices.

Before withdrawing, however, British officials reached an agreement with the U.S. consulate to leave their weapons and vehicles at the poorly guarded U.S. compound.

“We are working with the U.S. to establish what, if anything, has happened to this equipment,” British news agencies quoted an unnamed Foreign Office spokesman as saying.

The issue of the missing weapons and vehicles came to light during testimony Wednesday at a congressional hearing in Washington, where Lt. Col. Andrew Wood of the Utah National Guard, who headed a 16-member U.S. military security force in Libya, revealed that the British would return periodically to Benghazi and reclaim the weapons, then give them back to the Americans when they left the city again.

Wood added that he had expected an attack to come sooner or later. “I almost expected the attack to come,” he said. “We were the last flag flying. It was a matter of time. The security in Benghazi was a struggle and remained a struggle throughout my time there.”

On Friday, U.S. officials said they still were working to determine what precisely had taken place during the assault on the consulate building. U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and State Department computer specialist Sean Smith died of smoke inhalation after the building was set on fire.

Two other Americans, former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Wood, died at an embassy annex a few blocks away when it came under attack from mortar and rifle fire. The annex was believed to house the local offices of the CIA.

Frykberg is a McClatchy special correspondent.

Read more World Wires stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
In this undated photo provided by New Zealand Police, John Henry Tully, 48, poses for a photo. A manhunt for Tully is underway Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, after police said a gunman killed two people and injured a third at an unemployment office before escaping on a bicycle in Ashburton, New Zealand. According to police, a man entered a Work and Income New Zealand office and started shooting.

    New Zealand gunman kills 2; suspect faces charges

    A man suspected of killing two unemployment-office workers and seriously wounding a third in a South Island town was charged Tuesday with murder.

  •  
ADDS THE WORD "METRIC" TO TONS AND THE TONS EQUIVALENT - Blocks of seized cocaine are presented to the press at a police base in Lima, Peru, Monday, Sept. 1, 2014. According to police, the packages are part of a 7.7 metric tons (8.5 tons) cocaine seizure made in the northern town of Trujillo on Aug. 26, and is the largest cocaine seizure in Peru's history.

    Peru police display record 7.7-ton cocaine haul

    Peruvian police displayed in a Lima airport police hangar on Monday what officials called the largest cocaine haul ever in the Andean nation, 7.7 metric tons (8.5 tons).

  •  
Workers from a company outsourced by Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex try to remove fuel after a pipeline spill of premium gasoline contaminated the Hondo River near the town of Tierra Blanca, Mexico, Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014. According to PEMEX, the Aug. 27 spill was caused by an illegal tap in the pipeline by criminals trying to steal fuel.

    Mexico sees massive fish die-off at lake

    Mexican authorities say a mass die-off of fish at a lake in western Mexico was not due to natural causes, but the causes are still being investigated and one research said that low water levels could have been responsible.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category