AMMAN — Jordanian police on Thursday were questioning 12 Libyan police trainees who allegedly set fire to a sports facility at the Jordanian International Police Training Centre (JIPTC) the day before in protest against a delay in their return flight to Libya.
Fifty-eight Jordanian policemen were injured while attempting to stop dozens of Libyan police trainees from “destroying the JIPTC surrounding facilities,” Public Security Department (PSD) Spokesperson Lt. Col. Mohammad Khatib said.
“Eight of the 12 Libyan police trainees who are being questioned were also hospitalised for injuries as a result of the clash between them and our forces,” Khatib told The Jordan Times.
A Civil Defence Department firefighter was injured while extinguishing the fire, the police official added.
The trainees had completed police training in the Kingdom and were to fly to Libya on Wednesday, but their flight schedules were delayed because of a delay by Libyan Airlines, which was supposed to fly them to Libya.
As a result, some of them got angry and started a riot, and when the police tried to stop them, they set a hangar ablaze.
The Libyan Ambassador to Jordan Mohammad Barghathi, who visited the scene of the incident and later the Libyans injured at the hospital, was quoted in a PSD statement as “expressing his regret and apology over the riot incidents caused by the Libyan trainees”.
Barghathi said his country, through the Libyan embassy in Jordan, “takes full responsibility for what has happened”. according to the statement.
“Barghathi also assured the parents of the injured trainees about their sons’ health condition and assured them that they would return to Libya after they recovered,” the PSD statement added.
Despite repeated attempts by The Jordan Times, officials were unavailable to comment on the incident.
The PSD has formed a committee to investigate the incident and evaluate the damage to the facilities, according to Khatib.
Under an agreement with the Libyan government, the PSD was scheduled to return the trainees to Libya over three stages, but these plans were disrupted because of delays by Libyan Airlines.
Eleven Libyan police officers receiving training at the centre were recently deported to Libya after an investigation proved their involvement in a brawl at the centre.
A fight between a group of Libyan trainees erupted at the centre on July 1, and a section of the trainees’ dormitory was burnt as a result.
The group was the first of four batches of 10,000 Libyan police officers who arrived in April in Jordan for training at the JIPTC.