By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 23 January 2015:
In a surprise development Khalid Sharif has been removed from his position as deputy Defence Minister . . .[restrict]in the Tripoli-based administration of Omar Al-Hassi, along with fellow deputy minister Tuhami Abugia, according to the Tripoli Ministry of Defence.
Sharif announced on his Twitter account that he had resigned from his post, but the MoD has insisted that he was sacked.
“The MoD removed him but he is saying he resigned,” said a spokesperson for the Tripoli-based MoD. “Sharif was from the [Abdullah] Al-Thinni government, and the ministry is now being refreshed.”
Sharif, a former commander of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in Afghanistan who was captured in Pakistan in 2003 and sent back to Libya where Qaddafi jailed him, was given the post in Ali Zeidan’s government. He retained the role when his boss as defence minister, Al-Thinni, became Prime Minister. After the latter’s internationally-recognised government moved to Beida in August, Sharif remained in the capital, working under the Tripoli-based “government” created by a group of members of the former parliament, the General National Congress, and headed by Omar Al-Hassi.
Whilst in post, Sharif was charged with creating the Libyan National Guard and held responsibility for border security in the south of the country. He was also involved in setting up the ill-fated project to train new Libyan Army recruits in Britain, which was terminated early and much of the bill for which remains unpaid.
Most recently, photographs circulated on social media showed him at several of Libya’s front lines, including Sabratha.
On his Twitter account, Sharif thanked his colleagues in the ministry and in the office of the Chief of Staff for their cooperation over the last two years, and wished them well for the future.
Abugia, the other deputy Defence Minister to have lost his job in the ministry shake-up, had been principally been charge of diplomatic security, the MoD spokesman said. [/restrict]