Gunfire reported at Libyan prime minister′s compound | News | DW | 08.05.2012
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Gunfire reported at Libyan prime minister's compound

Initial reports have suggested that former Libyan rebels attacked the interim government's Tripoli headquarters; witnesses reported armed militia on the scene as well as emergency services and ambulances.

Local media reported on Tuesday that an armed group of former Libyan rebels attacked the government's main offices in the capital Tripoli, apparently upset over payments that the government recently stopped.

The official Al Arabiya news outlet said that a group of former rebels, who helped oust Moammar Gaddafi in last year's conflict, had initially held talks with government officials inside the building. The agency said, however, that the talks did not bear fruit and were followed by the sound of gunshots outside the cabinet offices.

The AFP news agency, meanwhile, reported that at least two guards were killed in the attack, citing an interior ministry source speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Between two to four guards were killed and many others were wounded," the official told AFP. "Many men encircled the building and opened fire against it with weapons including anit-aircraft cannons. Some men entered the premises and fired from the inside."

Residents in the area and a Reuters reporter nearby also mentioned the sound of gunshots and the sight of trucks mounted with anti-aircraft guns in the Libyan capital.

Government spokesman Nassel al-Manaa said that Libyan Defense Minister Osama Juili had been negotiating with the fighters, who "came in protest over stipends."

Libyan authorities suspeneded payments of cash bonuses to the rebels last month, citing widespread fraud.

msh/sej (AFP, dpa, Reuters)