Libyan says forces seized min­istries

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL -

BENG­HAZI, Libya — A self-de­clared prime min­is­ter said Thurs­day that his forces have seized at least three min­istries in Libya’s cap­i­tal, declar­ing what ap­peared to be a coup af­ter what he de­scribed as a year­long fail­ure of the cur­rent U.N.-backed premier.

Khal­ifa Gh­well said by phone from Tripoli that his forces con­trol the min­istries of de­fense, la­bor and the “mar­tyrs and the wounded.” His so-called Na­tional Sal­va­tion gov­ern­ment was formed by the out­go­ing par­lia­ment af­ter a dis­puted 2014 trans­fer of power that led to the es­tab­lish­ment of ri­val gov­ern­ments, each backed by an ar­ray of mili­tias.

The U.N. helped es­tab­lish a third gov­ern­ment in Tripoli last year un­der Fayez Ser­raj, a West­ern-backed politi­cian, hop­ing he could unify Libya and lead the fight against Is­lamic ex­trem­ists.

A spokesman for Ser­raj’s gov­ern­ment, Ashraf Tulty, dis­missed the moves by Gh­well’s forces, say­ing “they are try­ing to sow chaos but they have no means to con­trol.”

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