By Libya Herald reporter.
Tunis, 18 September 2017:
After visiting his home town of Ghadames, Beida-based interim prime minister Abdullah Al-Thinni was yesterday in the nearby town of Derj where he met members of the municipal council and other local officials to discuss the most pressing issues facing it. He separately met with local elders, civil society activists and youth groups.
Thinni was given a tour of the town, including its hospital where laid the foundation stone for a new physiotherapy centre. During a luncheon, presentations of the town’s history and folklore were made.
Derj has a large population of Tuaregs, many of whom were forced out of Ghadames in 2011 because of their support of Qaddafi. Since then, they have attempted to negotiate a settlement to return Ghadames, but with no success. Officially nothing was said about this during the visit.
After Derj, Thinni and his delegation headed back to Ghadames and this morning flew to Zintan, where he was received by Mayor Mustafa Barouni and members of the municipal council as well as other officials & local dignitaries.
Following meetings with the council and others, he went to the nearby Mashashia town of Awiniya where he had discussions with its mayor and council and to neighbouring Dahr El-Jebel. There, as well as the local authorities, a number of mayors and municipal representatives from other Jebel Nafusa towns had also gathered to meet him.
The western region visit is being presented by interim government as evidence of its support for Thinni. Its media office reported that in Ghadames, various groups declared their allegiance and rejection of the Presidency Council. Thinni himself is reported to have declared during the trip that his authority extended over the area and, indeed, most of Libya.
In fact, his visit to Zintan come just six weeks after PC head Faiez Serraj was in the town with his own delegation in tow shaking hands with everyone and promising help. The reality, according to Zintan officials, is that it is looking for support for delivery of services from anyone who can give it.
The same appears to be true with Zintan’s longstanding rival, the Mashashia tribe, which has complained of being ignored by both the Thinni and Serraj administrations. That resulted in talks, again six weeks ago, between town officials and PC deputy head Ahmed Maetig.