Libyan interior minister restored to post after talks

An influential figure from the port city and military power base of Misrata, Bashagha is well regarded by the GNA’s foreign backers and played a central role as it repelled a 14- month assault on Tripoli by eastern-based forces. However, there have been longstanding tensions between armed groups from Tripoli and Misrata, and friction was reported recently…

TRIPOLI, Sept 3 (Reuters) – Libya’s internationally

recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) on Thursday

restored the interior minister to his post after announcing his

suspension last week following protests over living conditions.

Fathi Bashagha said in a statement posted online that he hadbeen reinstated after a five-hour hearing about the protests andthe role of the security forces.

An influential figure from the port city and military powerbase of Misrata, Bashagha is well regarded by the GNA’s foreignbackers and played a central role as it repelled a 14-monthassault on Tripoli by eastern-based forces.

However, there have been longstanding tensions between armedgroups from Tripoli and Misrata, and friction was reportedrecently between Bashagha and GNA Prime Minister Fayezal-Serraj.

Armed groups in Tripoli had used gunfire to disperseprotesters. Bashagha’s interior ministry said it would protectthe protesters.

Bashagha, who was visiting the GNA’s main ally Turkey whenhe was suspended, was met on his return by his supporters and aconvoy of military vehicles from Misrata.

The protests, including some attended by hundreds of people,have focused on a worsening electricity crisis with blackoutslasting for much of the day even after the assault on Tripoliended in June.

The unrest coincides with a surging coronavirus outbreak inLibya and Serraj’s declaration of a full lockdown to limit itsspread was seen by critics as a means of curbing the protests.(Reporting by Tripoli newsroom, writing by Angus McDowall;editing by Tom Brown)

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