Rival of Libya's U.N.-backed government claims control of Tripoli defense ministry

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 12, 2017 12:18 PM

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - A self-declared prime minister sidelined by Libya's U.N.-backed government said on Thursday he had retaken control of the defense ministry in the capital, Tripoli.

Khalifa Ghwell said in a televised statement that his self-declared government had recaptured some "state institutions" including the defense ministry, and that he had ordered ousted staff there back to work. A statement by supporters of Ghwell said the labor and martyrs' ministries were now also under their control.

The claims could not be independently confirmed. Tripoli is home to a patchwork of armed groups with shifting allegiances. Some have supported the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), and some are loyal to the government it tried to displace.

(Reporting by Ahmed Elumami; Writing by Aidan Lewis; editing by Richard Lough)