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Libya replaces interior minister in security reform drive

By AFP - Oct 07,2018 - Last updated at Oct 07,2018

TRIPOLI — The head of Libya's UN-backed government on Sunday reshuffled key cabinet posts, replacing the interior minister amid efforts to bolster security in the wake of fighting around Tripoli.

"Fathi Bashagha is [now] in charge of the interior ministry", according to a decree signed by Fayez Al Sarraj, who leads the Government of National Accord (GNA).

Bashagha — an elected lawmaker who had boycotted parliamentary sessions — succeeds Abdessalam Achour, who had held his position since February 2018.

The new interior minister comes from Misrata, a city with powerful militias 200 kilometres east of Tripoli. 

Ali Issawi, a former Libyan ambassador to India, was appointed economy and industry minister, replacing Nasser Derssi, while Faraj Abderrahmane Boumtari becomes finance minister, succeeding Oussama Hamad.

The United Nations mission in Libya wished the new ministers "success in their new roles" and said it stood ready to support them in implementing new security arrangements in Tripoli.

The GNA on Saturday announced a series of measures to shore up the banking sector and wider economy, and it said regular security forces will replace militia at key state buildings in the capital. 

A month of clashes between rival militias left more than 100 dead south of Tripoli, while the capital's only working airport on the eastern outskirts of the city was also temporarily shut before the government in late September announced a ceasefire deal.

Libya has been mired in chaos since the 2011 fall of dictator Muammar Qadhafi, with the GNA failing to impose itself over the myriad of militia groups and a rival administration challenging it in the east of the country.

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