Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade
Established By: Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi;
Also Known As: ASMB;
Country Of Origin: Libya;
Operational Area: Derna, Libya;
Involved In: Armed Attacks, Assasinations, Smuggling;
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The Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade was an Islamist militia that advocated for the implementation of Sharia law within Derna, Libya. The group was known for enforcing strict social rules in the city.
The Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade was created by former Libyan Islamic Fighting Group member Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi. But, following the Libyan Civil War, the brigade was taken over by Salim Derby.
In 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Libya took over much of Derna. Abu Salim and ISIL repeatedly clashed in the following months in disputes over power and resources. Derby was killed in fighting with Islamic State militants in June 2015.
The Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade was among the first and boldest to take up arms in the revolution that toppled Gaddafi, and are credited with restoring order in the absence of a police force after the collapse of Gaddafi’s state.
They are also suspected in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in 2012 that killed the ambasador and three other Americans. They have also antagonized residents and clashed, sometimes violently, with powerful local tribes.
In Derna, armed groups like the Ansar al-Shari’a (separate from the group in Benghazi) and the Abu Salim Martyrs Brigade were commandeered by former veterans of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG).
The group also began a campaign to implement draconian mores, shutting down beauty parlours and overtaking radio stations. As 2012 progressed, there were disturbing signs of more nefarious activity – the assassination of Gaddafi-era officials and arms and narcotics smuggling.