News / Middle East

    Libya Defense Minister to Be Removed After Tripoli Clashes

    Libyan Defense Minister Mohammed al-Barghati is seen in a May 11, 2013, file photo.Libyan Defense Minister Mohammed al-Barghati is seen in a May 11, 2013, file photo.
    x
    Libyan Defense Minister Mohammed al-Barghati is seen in a May 11, 2013, file photo.
    Libyan Defense Minister Mohammed al-Barghati is seen in a May 11, 2013, file photo.
    Reuters
    Libya's defense minister will be removed from his post following fierce clashes between rival armed militias in the capital, Tripoli, in which 10 people were killed and more than 100 injured, Prime Minister Ali Zeidan said on Thursday.

    Calling the repeated violence plaguing Libya ”suicidal scenes,'' Zeidan said his government and the national assembly had pledged to clean Libya's streets of weapons, a mammoth task in a country where militias often do as they please.

    Loud explosions and gunfire rocked Tripoli late into the night on Wednesday, the second day of violence in the battle-scarred city, highlighting the rivalries between heavily armed groups roaming the country since the fall of Moammar Gadhafi.

    Armed groups made up of former rebel fighters from different
    parts of the country have grown in power and ambition nearly two years after Gadhafi was ousted, and the government has struggled to impose its authority over them.

    Defense Minister Mohammed al-Bargathi had submitted his resignation last month after some of the groups besieged two ministries. However, he was persuaded to stay on.

    ”After what happened yesterday, it has been decided that he will be relieved of his position,'' Zeidan said in a televised statement. “We will name a new minister as soon as possible.''

    The premier said a new army chief would also be named soon after Yussef al-Mangoush resigned this month following deadly clashes in the eastern city of Benghazi.

    Libyan Health Minister Nurideen Doghman said five people had been killed and 97 wounded in Wednesday's clashes. That came after five were killed and 20 wounded in fighting on Tuesday.

    The violence started on Tuesday morning when a militia given the job of guarding a major oil field attacked the headquarters of the national force set up to guard oil facilities across the country.

    The group from the western town of Zintan was disgruntled after another group was given supervision of a drilling operation in the area, officials said.

    That fighting stirred widespread resentment in Tripoli against fighters from Zintan, and by Wednesday parts of the city were caught up in fighting.

    Underlining the complexity of the situation, Wednesday's violence pitted a separate group from Zintan against fighters from the Tripoli-based Supreme Security Committee (SSC).

    ”Such incidents that take place due to the prevalence of weapons, need to stop. Ensuring safety does not mean sitting with a weapon ... it means supporting the unity of the nation and its legitimate bodies,'' Zeidan said.

    Without giving further details, he said his government and the National Assembly, Libya's highest political body, had agreed “to take the necessary steps to disarm civilians,” with their weapons to be handed over to the armed forces.

    Zeidan said Bargathi, upon instructions from the National Assembly, had ordered brigades aligned with the defense ministry to leave positions inside Tripoli and to set up around the city.

    ”The regular military forces should be based around the city and not inside unless there is a state of emergency or it is ordered by the chief of staff,'' he said.

    In a separate incident in the southern desert town of Sabha, two people were killed and 17 were injured when three car bombs exploded in different areas late on Wednesday.

    You May Like

    Ethiopia's Anti-terrorism Law: Security or Silencing Dissent?

    Yonatan Tesfaye was detained in December 2015 on charges under Ethiopia's Anti-Terrorism Proclamation; eleven statements from his Facebook page were used as evidence

    Egypt Orders Trial for Journalists Charged With Harboring Reporters

    Order targets journalists' union chief Yehia Qalash, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim for allegedly spreading false news, harboring fugitive colleagues

    Nigerian Oil Production Falls as Militant Attacks Take Toll

    Country no longer Africa's petroleum king due to renewed militancy in its oil-producing region

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahdai
    X
    Lisa Schlein
    May 31, 2016 1:56 PM
    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Chapter for Tunisia's Ennahda

    Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party says it is separating its religious and political activities in a broader bid to mark its so-called Muslim Democratic identity. The move appears to open a new chapter for a party that bounced back from the political wilderness of Tunisia’s pre-revolution days to become a key player in the North African country, and a member of the current coalition government. From Tunis, Lisa Bryant takes a look at how Tunisians are viewing its latest step.
    Video

    Video New Mobile App Allows Dutch Muslims to Rate their Imams

    If a young Dutch-Moroccan app developer has his way, Muslims in the Netherlands will soon be able to rate their imams online. Mohamed Mouman says imams rarely get feedback from their followers. He believes his app can give prayer leaders a better picture of what's happening in their communities — and can also keep young people from being radicalized. Serginho Roosblad reports from Amsterdam.
    Video

    Video Moscow Condemns NATO Plans to Beef Up Defense in Eastern Europe, Baltics

    NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday an upcoming "landmark summit" will enhance the alliance's defensive and deterrent presence in eastern Europe and the Baltics. He is visiting Poland ahead of the NATO Summit in Warsaw. Zlatica Hoke reports
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video F-35 Fighter Jet Draws Criticisms as Costs Mount

    America’s latest fighter plane, the F-35, has been mired in controversy. Critics cite cost, faulty design, and the attempt to use it to fill multiple roles. Even the pilot’s helmet is controversial. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Concerns Over Civilian Suffering as Iraqi Forces Surround Fallujah

    Thousands of residents are trapped inside the IS-held city ahead of a full scale Iraqi offensive aimed at retaking it.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora