BBC – Newsbeat – Irish-Libyan sniper moving from fighting to politics

Debbie RandleBy Debbie Randle
Newsbeat reporter in Libya Husam Najjair

Husam Najjair is from Dublin – but he’s staying in Libya and getting into politics

He’s become a bit of a celebrity in Libya. Young men across the country swap videos of Husam Najjair in battle.

He operated as a sniper in the revolution and was a commander of The Tripoli Brigade. He’s also known as ‘Big Sam’.

But at the beginning of this year, Big Sam was a builder from Dublin.

His mum is Irish but his dad is Libyan and he has strong ties to the country.

He chose to come over to Libya earlier this year to fight in the revolution.

“Everything is etched in my mind, says Husam. “The first shot that I took in training practice, to getting my own sniper rifle and becoming known as a sniper.”

Big Sam proved himself and soon he was leading his men.

He says one of his biggest moments was the battle for Colonel Gaddafi’s compound: “We made the push on Bab al-Azizya, which turned out to be an infamous battle.

“There were a lot of die hard Gaddafi supporters still inside. That’s when the battle really began.”

There were also very tough times for Husam. He remembers the moment he lost his friend.

“One of my best friends was standing out of the sunroof of my jeep, protecting, and we were gaining ground.

“He was shot in the forehead and landed on the back seat of the car.”

Fighting to politics

Now the fighting is over, Big Sam has no plans to go home or to stop leading.

Husam Najjair and Abdul Rahman

Husam Najjair and Abdul Rahman feel a responsibility to stay in Libya

He now fancies himself as a politician and is setting up his own party.

“The responsibility I felt on the battlefield, I feel this other responsibility to the people now.”

And he’s not the only one who’s decided to stay.

Abdul Rahman, 24, from Manchester, has started the Libyan Youth Forum along with other British Libyans.

The forum’s aim is to put help groups in contact with young people who need it most and “build one safe and prosperous nation for all Libyans”.

It’s based in Tripoli, but is working across Libya.

“The conventional military part of the revolution is just about finished now,” says Abdul.

“But I think that the tougher revolution is just starting now.”

“I feel obliged to, and I feel honoured to say that I, one, participated in the revolution, and two, that I’m here to help.”

Ali El-Ehmer


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