Gunmen kill two Libya soldiers in former Gaddafi bastion

AFP , Sunday 16 Dec 2012

The Libyan military says gunmen killed two army officers in the town of Bani Walid, a former stronghold of ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi

Libya's Prime Minister Ali Zeidan speaks during a news conference at the headquarters of the Prime Minister's Office in Tripoli December 14, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

Gunmen killed two army officers on Sunday in a Libyan town that was one of the last strongholds of Muammar Gaddafi's regime before his overthrow and killing last year, the military said.

Captains Mohamed al-Zarruk and Ahmed al-Haj Mohamed were killed when reinforcements were called in to the oasis town of Bani Walid, 170 kilometres (105 miles) southeast of Tripoli, after interior ministry forces were trapped by gunmen, the army said.

"Members of the (interior ministry-controlled) high security commission were looking for a man accused of murder when armed men surrounded them," Bani Walid military commander General Hussein Khalifa told AFP.

"Army units were called to their rescue but they came under fire and two officers were killed."A ceremony was held at the military airport in Tripoli in honour of the two officers. It was attended by armed forces chief of staff General Yussef al-Mangush as well as the bereaved families.

Bani Walid has been the scene of repeated clashes between government forces and residents, many of whom rue the overthrow of Gaddafi, who lavished resources on the area during his four-decade rule.In October, former rebel groups stormed the town on defence ministry orders to "purge" Gaddafi loyalists.

The ensuing clashes left dozens dead and wounded before the authorities took control of the town.

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