She had just returned from casting her vote in the elections and had also appeared on Libyan television where she had criticised the militias operating in Benghazi. She declared, “These are people who want to foil elections. Benghazi has been always defiant, and always will be despite the pain and fear. It will succeed.”
It is not clear who was behind her killing but it was presumably the work of Islamist militants. Her husband, who was recently elected to the municipal council in Benghazi, was also abducted in the attack and has not been seen since.
The only witness in the attack - an Egyptian called Ahmed Abdelkader who used to work for Bughagis, and who was shot in the leg in the assault - has since died in mysterious circumstances. Despite the fact that he was supposed to be giving evidence to the police his body was discovered bearing signs of torture.
Bughagis’s death touched deep chord with many Libyans. She had been a prominent figure during the 17 February revolution and beyond and her death was devastating for many. Between 400-500 mourners gathered for her funeral at Benghazi’s Hawari cemetery this week.
For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focus and Libya Politics & Security.
© 2014 Menas Associates