Libyan cabinet minister shot dead in hometown
Libya’s deputy industry minister has been killed while visiting his hometown of Sirte, situated to the east of the capital, Tripoli. It’s the first killing of a member of Libya’s transitional government.
“They opened fire from another car while he was driving, he was shot multiple times,” an official told Reuters on conditions of anonymity. “Later, they found explosives attached to his car. The theory is, the bomb failed, so they shot him instead.”
“Hassan Al-Droui was killed by unknown attackers overnight, during a visit to his native city of Sirte,” a security official also told the AFP news agency.
Al-Droui was an ex-member of the National Transitional Council, the political arm of the 2011 uprising.
The location of his assassination, the town of Sirte, was where the final battle in Libya’s civil war panned out. In the fighting, the former country’s leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was captured and killed.
Since then, Libya has experienced a harsh situation in its ongoing lawlessness.
The same day as Minister Hassan Al-Droui was killed, at least 15 died in clashes between rival tribesmen in the country’s south, in the city of Sabha. This violence marks the deadliest point since the tribes agreed on a ceasefire about two years ago.
And it hasn’t been a long time since the last major surge of violence in the war-torn country.
In November, clashes between the Libyan army and Islamist militia killed up to fourteen people and injured dozens in the eastern city of Benghazi, said the Libyan Ministry of Health. The country’s armed forces have been fighting to control the influence of Ansar al-Sharia, a hardline Islamist group, which the US designated a terrorist organization last week.
Throughout the year, insurgents and various militia groups also targeted ministries in Tripoli, and even besieged the Foreign Ministry and the Justice Ministry back in May, challenging the government and demanding the resignations of Gaddafi loyalists.
“Hassan al-Droui, the deputy minister for industry, was killed by unknown attackers overnight, during a visit to his native city of Sirte,” the security official told AFP on Sunday.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.
Droui, a former member of the National Transitional Council, was killed near Mekmdas market in central Sirte after evening prayers on Saturday, local media reported.
On Saturday, clashes between rival tribes in southern Libya killed 19 people and injured 20 others.
“Violent confrontations broke out between Toubous and Awled Sleiman early this morning,” said Ayoub al-Zarrouk, chief of the local council in the city of Sebha. “So far there are 19 dead and 20 wounded.”
The fighting reportedly began over the killing of a militia chief linked to Awled Sleiman. The Toubous were blamed for his death.
Since 2011, Benghazi has been the scene of numerous attacks and political assassinations amidst increasing power struggle among several militias who fought against Gaddafi during the uprising.
The militias refuse to lay down their arms, despite efforts by the central government to impose law and order.
Over the past few months, Tripoli and its suburbs have been hit by violent clashes between rival militias.