Libyan government minister resigns in wake of Benghazi bloodshed
Libyan army soliders and citizens gather outside the Al-Jalal hospital in Benghazi as victims of clashes between Libyan Special Forces and Ansar al-Sharia militiamen are rushed in to be treated on November 25, 2013. (AFP /Abdullah Doma)
Khaled Najm, media minister in Libya’s Tobruk-based government, has announced his resignation citing a recent deterioration of security in the eastern city of Benghazi.
The move came in the immediate wake of a bombing that rocked a Benghazi school on Monday, which left three people dead -- including two children -- and another 26 injured.
While there have been conflicting reports regarding the cause of Monday’s blast, Waleed al-Orfi, a spokesman for Benghazi’s security directorate who spoke to Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, attributed it to a car bomb.
"In protest against the bombings that have targeted civilians in Benghazi, and against the difficult circumstances that hinder our ability to provide security, I have decided to resign," Najm said in a Facebook post.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Najm said he planned to tender his resignation -- he did not say when -- to the Tobruk-based government’s council of ministers.
"I believe I can be of greater assistance if I work in an unofficial capacity," he asserted.
While no group has claimed responsibility for Monday’s blast, Fathi al-Magbari, deputy head of the Libyan unity government’s presidential council, accused "terrorist groups that are now besieged by the Libyan army in the Qanfouda area west of Benghazi" of carrying out recent attacks on civilians.
Libya has remained in turmoil since 2011, when a bloody popular uprising ended with the ouster and death of longtime strongman Muammar Gaddafi after more than four decades in power.
Since then, the country’s stark political divisions have yielded two rival seats of government -- one in Tobruk and another in capital Tripoli -- each of which boasts its own military capacity and legislative assembly.
Late last year, Libya’s rival governments signed a UN-brokered agreement to establish a unity government in an effort to resolve the country’s six-year political standoff.
The nascent unity government, however, has yet to assume its ruling mandate across the troubled North African country, which remains plagued by conflict between armed political factions.