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

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs