Troops Detained for Abusing Asir Supporter as Qahwaji Orders Probeإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
The army on Thursday handed over a group of soldiers accused of abusing a detainee to the military police for questioning, a military source and the state-run National News Agency said.
The move came after amateur video emerged showing a group of soldiers humiliating, beating and kicking a man suspected of supporting a Salafist cleric Ahmed al-Asir whose men fought troops near the southern city of Sidon.
"The group of soldiers behind the beating of a civilian in Sidon has been detained by the military police and is now being investigated," the NNA said.
A military source confirmed the report, adding: "We do not accept this kind of behavior."
Soldiers battled supporters of al-Asir in Abra neighborhood in Sidon last weekend in a major gun battle lasting 24 hours.
Asir is now on the run after 18 soldiers were killed in the clash.
Earlier on Thursday, the army said it had ordered a "major investigation" into the beating of a suspect.
The video footage shows the man saying he worked in al-Asir's mosque, but that he has no weapons and had nothing to do with the fighting.
"I have no weapons... I don't like him (al-Asir), may God curse him," says the man, visibly afraid.
"Liar!" cries a soldier.
Wearing a white T-shirt, the suspect is seated cross-legged on the ground, with around a dozen troops surrounding him.
The video shows one man in civilian clothing hitting him, then a soldier kicking him and finally several others joining in.
A man is heard ordering those filming with their telephones to stop, and the footage ends abruptly.
The Abra clash was the worst in Lebanon since the outbreak of conflict in neighboring Syria 27 months ago has deepened sectarian tensions.
In a separate development, Hizbullah evacuated two apartments in Abra on Thursday near al-Asir's headquarters, after the cleric had accused it of stocking arms there and of spying on him.
"We have evacuated the buildings in order to keep the peace in the area," a Hizbullah source told Agence France Presse on condition of anonymity.
A military source confirmed the report.