Conflict & Justice

Libya ex-rebel chief shot dead in Gaddafi home town


Libyan protestors wave their national flag and hold pictures of Libya's Major Gen. Halifa Haftar during demonstrations calling for him to stand down and against the extended mandate of the General National Congress (GNC), the country's highest political authority, in Benghazi on Feb. 28, 2014.



Gunmen shot dead a former rebel chief Saturday who worked for local councils set up after the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed dictator Muammar Gaddafi, a security official said.

Makhluf al-Ferjani was killed in Gaddafi's home town of Sirte, where he headed the local military council, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A medical source at the Ibn Sina hospital in the Mediterranean oasis town east of Tripoli said he was killed by bullets to the head and chest.

The local military councils, which are under the jurisdiction of the defence ministry, were set up amid lawlessness that spiralled after Gaddafi's overthrow.

Ferjani's killing is the latest to target the army, security forces, judges and other public figures, mostly in eastern Libya where the uprising took root.

Libya's weak central government has struggled to rein in the former rebels, blaming them and Islamists for the wave of violence across the country.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was himself kidnapped by gunmen for several hours last year, and deputy industry minister Hassan al-Droui was killed in Sirte on Jan. 12.

Sirte, on the Mediterranean coast, was the last regime bastion to fall into rebel hands in the uprising.