High-ranking official says Libya not fully liberated | Middle East| News and analysis of events in the Arab world | DW | 20.10.2012
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Middle East

High-ranking official says Libya not fully liberated

A year after Moammar Gadhafi's death, a leading Libyan politician has said that the country still has not been fully liberated. Meanwhile, Gadhafi's former spokesman has reportedly been captured.

Militias aligned with the Libyan government fought to impose order in the southeastern oasis town of Bani Walid on Saturday, while the head of the national assembly said the north Africa nation had not been fully liberated, a year after Colonel Moammar Gadhafi's death.

"The campaign to liberate the country has not been fully completed," said Mohammed Megaryef, the head of Libya's democratically elected General National Congress (GNC).

Government-aligned militias from the city of Misrata began shelling Bani Walid on Wednesday, enraged over the July abduction and torture of ex-rebel fighter Omran Shaaban, who subsequently died at the hands of his captors in the city.

Shaaban was credited with finding Gadhafi in a drainage pipe in the now deceased dictator's former stronghold of Sirte on October 20, 2011.

At least 10 people have been killed this week in the clashes in Bani Walid, another former Gadhafi stronghold.

On September 25, the General National Congress had ordered the Defense and Interior Ministries to find those responsible for Shaaban's death, authorizing the use of force if necessary.

"Bani Walid's misfortune is that it has become a sanctuary for a large number of outlaws and anti-revolutionaries and mercenaries," Megaryef said.

Gadhafi regime spokesman arrested

The former spokesman of Moammar Gadhafi's toppled regime, Moussa Ibrahim, was arrested on Saturday at a checkpoint in the town of Tarhouna, 70 kilometers (40 miles) southeast of Tripoli.

"Moussa Ibrahim has been arrested by forces belonging to the Libyan government in the town of Tarhouna and he is being transferred to Tripoli to begin interrogation," the Libyan prime minister's office said in a written release.

Questions arose later on Saturday, however, when Ibrahim purportedly denied the arrest in an audio clip posted on the internet. The authenticity of the audio clip had not been verified.

Ibrahim's whereabouts had been unknown since rebel forces captured Tripoli in August 2011.

slk, tm/pfd (AFP, dpa, Reuters)