Libyan rebel leader dismisses entire opposition cabinet

 

Libya's opposition administration was dismissed by its leader after threats of retribution from the tribe of the rebel military chief who was assassinated by his own side last month.

The dismissal of the entire cabinet by Mustafa Abdel Jalil was acknowledged as an attempt to reassure the family of General Abdel Fatah Younes and the powerful tribe to which he belonged – the Obeidis – that action was being taken over the death.

However, the move late on Monday was also viewed as a further sign of schism within the rebel movement, beset by internal feuding six months into a civil war which appears to have reached a stalemate, with Muammar Gaddafi still in power in Tripoli.

Yesterday the Gaddafi regime claimed that dozens of civilians were killed in a Nato air strike on the village of Najar, 90 miles east of Tripoli. State television showed charred bodies of three young children and injured women at a hospital. Survivors of the bombing claimed that 20 families had been killed.

Accounts of the attack could not be independently verified. Nato said air strikes were carried out in the area on Monday night and that the Alliance was investigating whether they caused civilian deaths.

Meanwhile, the opposition Transitional National Council (TNC) declared that the planned reshuffle of its national executive would make it more prepared to handle a post-Gaddafi Libya. Officials admitted that the Younes assassination had been a key factor behind the decision.

The opposition's main spokesman, Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga said there had been "shortcomings" in the behaviour of some of the TNC members over the matter. Another senior figure, Fathi Turbel, stated that a shake-up was essential because of the "military, security and media incompetence" that followed the killing.

The TNC's "prime minister" Mahmoud Jibril will form a new cabinet, with some of the ministers expected to be reappointed. It was unclear whether it will include Ali Essawi, Mr Jibril's deputy, widely said to have signed a warrant that led to the arrest of General Younes before he, and two of his aides, were shot and their bodies burnt.

Mr Jibril who, like Mr Jalil, is a former member of the Gaddafi regime, has faced mounting criticism over the amount of time he has spent on "VIP" travel abroad instead of overseeing affairs in Benghazi. Shamsiddin Abdulmolah, the TNC's media director, said: "He has to come back to Benghazi and actually stay here and run things from here, this is essential."

The political turbulence comes at a time when the rebel administration is securing increasing international recognition and has also been involved in commercial negotiations.

Mazin Ramadan, a member of the finance committee, said: "The interruption is not good. But this is not something we are going to worry about. This is not going to stop us." Diplomatic sources say that the Western states backing the rebels are concerned about whether Ali Tarhouni, in charge of the oil industry, is in the new cabinet.

Mr Tarhouni was regarded as one of the more competent figures in the opposition. However, he faced criticism from some TNC members for revealing that General Younes was almost certainly murdered by Islamists within the rebel ranks rather than agents of Colonel Gaddafi, as Mr Jalil and some of his colleagues had maintained.

Meanwhile, General Younes' family and the Obeidi tribe welcomed the TNC overhaul but warned that this was no substitute for the killers, and those who tried to "cover up" the killings, facing justice.

In a joint statement they said: "We only care about justice. We don't seek power. We insist on bringing those involved with the assassination, regardless of their ranks or titles, to be prosecuted by a fair, civilised judicial system."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory