Last updateLun, 26 Jan 2015 10am

Security: Another senior military officer gunned down in Benghazi

Gunmen on Friday evening shot dead a Libyan army colonel in the restive eastern city of Benghazi as demonstrations were held in several cities to protest against the insecurity prevailing in city considered as the cradle of the revolution in 2001 that ousted former leader Mouamar Kaddafi.

'Unknown men shot and killed Colonel Ounis Mohamed al-Barghathi,' security sources said in the city, which has seen a wave of assassinations and suicide bomb attacks targeting soldiers, policemen, civil society activists, judges and politicians, among others.

The body of the victim was deposited at Benghazi hospital, and medical sources said he was shot several times in the head. It is not clear why Colonel al-Barghathi was targeted.

No arrest has yet been made that could lead to the identification of the perpetrators of murders that observers blame on Islamist groups active in that region.

Libyans, infuriated by the insecurity, took to the streets on Friday in several cities to denounce violence and expressed solidarity with Benghazi inhabitants.

The demonstrators blamed the government and the National General Congress (Parliament) for the insecurity in the country.

The transition government has so far found it difficult to counter the powerful militias and armed groups imposing terror on the citizens.

On Monday, the bodies of seven Egyptians shot dead were found near Benghazi, illustrating the violence which spares nobody in the city.

The country has seen a political crisis marked by the refusal of a large majority of Libyans against the extension of the term of CNG with disagreements between different political blocs which were unable to agree a motion of censure against the Ali Zeidan government.

At the economic level, the continuation of the closure of oil ports in the east and the blocking of the important oil field of al-Charara, in the south, have resulted in a further drop in the country’s oil production, the government’s main resource.

The situation is beginning to have consequences on the economy, which this year, will record a drop by 5%, according to forecasts by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Pana 02/03/2014