Libya rebels storm PM's Tripoli office demanding wages


Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib addresses a press conference in Istanbul on February 25, 2012.



Former rebels angry over an unpaid stipend stormed the office of Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib in the capital, Tripoli, on Tuesday, killing at least two security officials and wounding many more.

Witnesses told the BBC that the rebels – who are reportedly demanding pay-outs and medical treatment abroad after helping to oust Colonel Muammar Gaddafi last year – surrounded the building in pick-up trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns, sparking a gun battle that lasted several hours.

Most government employees inside the building – including Libya’s finance minister and deputy prime minister – fled the militia, who reportedly came from Yafran, a town around 100 kilometers south-west of Tripoli populated by the minority Berber ethnic group.

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Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) has struggled to impose order and rein in the various militia groups that took part in last year’s uprising in the North African country.

According to Bloomberg, the NTC has made a single payment of 500 dinars ($399) to ex-rebels, an amount that has failed to persuade many of the fighters to disarm or disband and give up their demands for more services for their various regions.

The authorities halted their reward scheme of cash bonuses for the rebels last month citing widespread fraud, the Agence France Presse reports. Tuesday’s attack on the prime minister’s office is the second in two months. 

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