After launching an investigation, Lebanese authorities are looking for answers behind the mysterious killing of a retired customs officer, Colonel Mounir Abou Rjeily.
Abou Rjeily, the former head of an anti-smuggling unit in the Lebanese customs, was found dead in his mountain home on Wednesday with a blow to the head by a sharp object.
He was evidently murdered, and the motive is still unknown.
His death has led to speculations about whether or not it had anything to do with the Beirut Port explosion investigation because of how similar and mysterious it is to the death of customs officer Colonel Joseph Skaf, whose family believes was murdered.
According to Al-Hadath, Abou Rjeily and Skaf were very close friends and the latter was often referred to as the “reservoir of information” regarding all details relating to the ammonium nitrate at the port.
Even leader of the Progressive Socialist Party Walid Jumblatt took to Twitter to seriously ponder the connection, writing, “Is this horrific incident meant to obstruct any serious investigation into the explosion at the Beirut port?”
It’s worth mentioning that preliminary reports claimed Abou Rjeily served at the port, where a massive explosion took place exactly four months ago upon the unexplained detonation of nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate.
However, Reuters was provided with Abou Rjeily’s CV, which revealed that he severed at the airport but not at the port. In addition, local media later clarified citing judicial and security sources that Abou Rjeily indeed never worked at the Beirut port
Furthermore, Reuters reported that a senior interior ministry source stated that there was no link found yet between the port and Abou Rjeily’s murder. However, it does not eliminate the fact that he was a close friend of Skaf’s, nor does it deny the possibility of the sharing of information between them.
Speculations are there indeed that since the murder is reminiscent of that of Skaf, Abou Rjeily could have known more than he should and had to be taken out of the picture by whoever is trying to obstruct the investigation.