26 August 2012

Libya: Under-Fire Interior Minister Quits

Tripoli — Libya's Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelali resigned on Sunday in apparent protest over criticism that security forces had been lax or even implicated in recent violence.

"He submitted his resignation to protest against congressmen criticising the government and to defend the revolutionaries," an official said, referring to former rebels who now form part of the country's security services.

Libya's newly elected congress held an emergency session on Sunday about the destruction over the weekend of two of the country's most revered Sufi shrines by suspected religious extremists, who some lawmakers allege may have undertaken their actions in collusion with security officials.

The brazen attacks in two cities underscore the shaky nature of the emerging democracy in Libya, where elected officials have little sway over security forces. The destruction has raised fears that conservative religious groups--whose candidates were soundly beaten in the country's July election--may attempt to sabotage Libya's transition to a secular, modern state.

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