Libyan militias carry out coup attempt against UN-backed government
Libyan militias on Friday night attempted a coup against the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli, taking several official buildings and a TV station.
The militias, loyal to former prime minister Khalifa al-Ghwell, seized Tripoli’s Rixos hotel, which houses the government’s state council, Libya Herlad reported.
Following the takeover, Ghwell appeared in a press conference to declare a state of emergency and what he called it an “historical initiative to rescue Libya”.
Ghwell who announced that his so-called National Salvation government was back in power, accused the GNA’s Presidency Council of undermining national unity and of being the pawn of foreign forces wanting to divide the country.
He called on government ministries and departments to stop dealing the GNA and to work with him again instead. He also said that all those who had been appointed by the GNA were dismissed.
The Guardian reported that pro-coup militiamen in pickup trucks with mounted machine guns remained in place around the Rixos complex early on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the location of the GNA’s leadership, led by prime minister Fayez al-Sarraj, is unclear, with some reports saying they are in neighbouring Tunisia.
Under a UN-brokered agreement reached last December, the country’s rival administrations - one supported by the internationally recognised parliament in the east and the other backed by an Islamist-backed militia in Tripoli - were supposed to cede power to the GNA headed by prime minister-designate Fayez al-Sarraj.
The GNA finally arrived in Tripoli in March, but faced stiff opposition by the city’s authorities led by Khalifa al-Ghwell.