Details emerge of attack on Magarief in Sebha

Head of the GNC Mohamed Magarief, centre, . . .[restrict]at a conference in Tripoli last week (Photo: Tom Little)

Tripoli, 6 January:

Head of the General National Congress (GNC) Mohamed Magarief said last night, Saturday, that the hotel he was staying in on a visit to Sebha was attacked by gunmen who fired at the hotel while he and members of a GNC delegation were present.

Speaking in an interview to Libya Al-Wataniya TV, he said that he heard explosions and gunfire from inside the Sebha hotel, understood to be the Fezzan, late on Friday night.

Magarief’s spokesman, Rasmy Burwein, told Reuters that the GNC head had escaped injury but that three of his guards had been injured in the shooting.

It is still not known if Magarief was the target of the attack. A spokesman for the Defence Ministry, Colonel Adel Al-Barasi, said in a phone interview on Libya TV this evening, Sunday, that that he believed the shooting in Sebha had not been specifically aimed at the Congress President, but that there had been a clash between two of the town’s tribes while he was present.

Magarief had been on a visit to Sebha to meet with local council members and officials about the security situation in the town after it was declared a closed military zone on 16 December.

In the days leading up to Magarief’s visit, members of the Awlad Suleiman and Qadhadhfa tribes had clashed in the town, leaving several from both sides dead, and a GNC media officer told the Libya Herald on 5 January that Magarief did meet with members of local tribes. He would not, however, confirm that the meeting was connected to the recent clashes in the town.

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