BENGHAZI, Libya (CBS DC/AP) — An American teacher at an international school in Benghazi, Libya was shot and killed Thursday.
A school official tells CBS News that Ronald Smith, a chemistry teacher at the International School Benghazi, was shot and killed while he was jogging.
“He was doing his morning exercise when gunmen just shot him. I don’t know why. He was so sweet with everyone,” Adel al Mansouri, the school’s director, told Reuters.
No one has claimed responsibility for the teacher’s killing but suspicion is likely to fall on Islamic militants active in the city.
Security official Ibrahim al-Sharaa said the American was jogging near the compound where U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed by Islamic militants in September 2012.
Smith was one of four people killed in Benghazi today and whose bodies were taken to the Al-Galaa hospital, showing the dangers of a city that is home to numerous armed groups resisting the central government’s authority. The other three were military personnel.
Libya’s heavily armed militias, with roots in the 2011 war against dictator Moammar Gadhafi, have proliferated since his overthrow. They have since undermined successive transitional governments and parliament.
Libyan security forces clashed in Benghazi last month with Ansar al-Shariah, a hard-line Islamist militia blamed for the attack on the diplomatic mission. Ansar al-Shariah faces a backlash from residents who have marched against it both in Benghazi and, in recent days, in its stronghold in the eastern city of Darna.
With frequent attacks on public figures and security officials, much of the lawlessness is blamed on the groups. But the government also relies on many of them to provide security in the absence of a functioning police force.
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