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

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid