Libya’s interior minister escapes assassination attempt

The powerful interior minister of Libya’s unity government survived an assassination attempt Sunday on a highway near the capital Tripoli, an official from his inner circle told AFP.

Fathi Bashagha’s convoy “was fired on from an armoured car while he was on the highway. His police escort returned fire. Two of the assailants were arrested and a third is in hospital,” the source said, adding that “the minister is fine”.

Bashagha, a heavyweight in Libyan politics, was returning from a routine visit to a new security unit overseen by his department, the same source said.

The 58-year-old has served as interior minister in the North African country’s UN-recognised Government of National Accord since 2018 and has staked his reputation on battling corruption.

Libya has been riven by violence since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Two rival administrations, backed by an array of militias and foreign powers, have vied for control of the oil-rich country.

Bashagha had been seen as a favourite to lead a new interim government under UN-led peace efforts following an October ceasefire last year.

The post finally went to businessman Abdul Hamid Dbeibah, a 61-year-old engineer, who has called for reconstruction, democracy and reunification in Libya.

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