Libya interior minister back in post after post-demos suspension

AFP , Thursday 3 Sep 2020

Libya's Interior Minister Fathi Bashagha arrives at Tripoli's Mitiga airport, Libya, August 29, 2020. REUTERS

The interior minister in Libya's UN-recognised Government of National Accord was reinstated on Thursday after a week-long suspension and an inquiry on violent incidents during demonstrations last month.

The GNA, on its Facebook page, said prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj had "lifted the temporary suspension" of Fathi Bashagha, who would return to his post the same day.

It did not mention the inquiry or its conclusions, but social media posts showed Bashagha entering government offices in Tripoli earlier the same day under police escort for a closed-door hearing.

The minister had demanded a public hearing "to expose the facts".

His return to office comes after hundreds of Libyans late last month staged several days of demonstrations in the capital over poor living conditions and public services.

Among a string of incidents, they came under attack by gunmen firing live rounds, leaving several people wounded.

Bashagha said last week that gunmen also kidnapped demonstrators, "sowing panic among the population and threatening security and public order".

He vowed to "protect unarmed civilians from the brutality of a gang of thugs".

Libya has endured almost a decade of violent chaos since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed veteran dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

The country's main military fault line is between the Libya National Army (LNA) lead by strongman Khalifa Haftar and the forces that back the GNA.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online

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