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

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid