x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Libya defence minister to be replaced after deadly clashes: PM

Mohammed Al Barghathi had already announced his resignation last month before withdrawing it again just hours later at the premier's request.

The Libyan defence minister Mohammed Al Barghathi when he was appointed in November, 2012.
The Libyan defence minister Mohammed Al Barghathi when he was appointed in November, 2012.

TRIPOLI // Libya's defence minister is to be replaced, prime minister Ali Zeidan said yesterday, the day after deadly clashes between armed groups in Tripoli.

Mohammed Al Barghathi had already announced his resignation last month before withdrawing it again just hours later at the premier's request.

"Members of the (General National) Congress asked the defence minister to resign or leave office," Mr Zeidan said. "The minister had already resigned but we had asked him to continue in the role due to the circumstances" in the country.

His resignation came after Libya's highest political authority, the General National Congress, passed a law on May 5 banning officials who had served under toppled dictator Muammar Qaddafi from government jobs.

The law could also affect Mr AL Barghathi, who was an air force commander under the Qaddafi regime.

On Wednesday, two groups of ex-rebels who had battled Qaddafi's forces in 2011 clashed in the Abu Slim area near the centre of the capital.

According to a new health ministry toll, the fighting on Thursday killed five people and wounded 97 others.

Libya's new authorities are battling to establish military and security institutions capable of restoring law and order and state authority in the face of militias.