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Africa North
Libya Defense Minister to Be Replaced after Capital Hit by Fighting
2013-06-28
[An Nahar] Libya's Defense Minister Mohammed al-Barghathi is to be replaced, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said on Thursday, the day after deadly festivities between gangs in Tripoli
...a confusing city, one end of which is located in Lebanon and the other end of which is the capital of Libya. Its chief distinction is being mentioned in the Marine Hymn...
"The defense minister will be thanked and we are going to name a new minister," Zeidan said in a speech.

He noted that Barghathi had already put forward his resignation at the beginning of May before withdrawing it shortly afterwards at the government's request.

On ground, tension was palpable in the Libyan capital on Thursday, a day after deadly fighting broke out between groups of ex-rebels, highlighting the country's continuing insecurity nearly two years after dictator Muammar Qadaffy
...a proud Arab institution for 42 years, now among the dear departed, though not the dearest...
fell.

Much of Libya's recent unrest has centered on the eastern city of Benghazi, the cradle of the 2011 uprising against Qadaffy, where attacks blamed on Islamists have targeted both the authorities and Western interests.

But it now seems to be spreading to Tripoli, where brigades of ex-rebels remain entrenched despite government efforts to disarm them and impose its authority.

Since the fall of Qadaffy's regime, militia groups, mostly ex-rebels, have managed border controls, prisons, strategic facilities in the country and vital institutions.

Coming from different parts of the country, representing different tribes and with varying ideologies, they have received salaries and perks from the authorities, and some have even benefited from smuggling and extortion.

Deadly events on Tuesday and Wednesday epitomized the sense of lawlessness that surrounds them.

A group of gunnies from the city of Zintan who had been guarding oil facilities in the southern desert, attacked the Tripoli headquarters of the petroleum industry security force on Tuesday.

They had been replaced by another group and wanted their jobs back.

Another "brigade" of ex-rebels, loosely attached to interior ministry's high security commission, intervened in the fighting. Five people were killed and five of the Zintanis seized.

On Wednesday, armed Zintanis attacked the Tripoli headquarters of the brigade, located in the capital's Abu Slim district. They ransacked it and freed their comrades.

Five people were also killed in that fighting and another 97 maimed, the health ministry said.

The interim head of Libya's army, General Salem al-Konidi, said "we tried to intervene, but our resources did not allow it".

"The government refuses to equip the army," Konidi told Libya Al-Ahrar television.

On Thursday, military police remained deployed at key points along the airport road near Abu Slim, having arrived during the previous days festivities.

While there were no outright threats, there was a sense among people in the city that there could be more inter-militia festivities.

There are also worries that the city may see further incidents of this kind in retaliatory attacks but limited to inter-militia festivities

Konidi also disowned the Zintanis, who are officially attached to the defense ministry, saying "forces that don't follow our orders don't belong to us".

The government limited itself to issuing a statement overnight in which it regretted the "deplorable acts" and affirmed its intention to enforce its decision to remove "illegal militias" from the capital.

That decision had been taken by the General National Congress (GNC), the country's highest legislative and political authority, after deadly fighting in Benghazi three weeks ago.

And the government said on Thursday that, during the course of the day, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan would speak about the latest festivities.

But while violence hit Tripoli, there were deadly attacks elsewhere in the country.

Overnight, three boom-mobiles went kaboom! in Sebha, 700 kilometers (434 miles) south of the capital. Two people died and 17 were maimed in the blasts, which came at roughly half-hour intervals, officials said.

And in Benghazi on Wednesday, an army officer died after a bomb placed in his official vehicle went kaboom!.

The death of Lieutenant Colonel Jemaa al-Misrati came a day after gunnies killed six soldiers at a checkpoint south of Sirte, the late Qadaffy's hometown.
Posted by:Fred

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