Libya minister quits after criticism over attacks

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 26, 2012 1:19 PM
Libya minister quits after criticism over attacks

TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya's interior minister resigned on Sunday after being criticised for not doing enough to curb a surge of attacks on Sufi Muslim shrines and mosques, an aide said.

Attackers, described as ultra-conservative Islamists by some officials, bulldozed two sites sacred to Sufi Muslims in the western city of Zlitan and the capital Tripoli on Friday and Saturday.

Libya's General National Congress, the country's newly-elected assembly, called an emergency meeting late on Saturday and criticised government security forces for failing to stop the assaults.

"(Interior) Minister Fawzi Abdel A'al submitted his resignation in protest against the unacceptable words from the national congress," his aide Ziad Muftah told Reuters.

"The resignation has not been accepted by the prime minister's office yet."

Government officials said both attacks were launched by Islamists who found Salafi shrines and practices idolatrous.

Libya's rulers have struggled to control armed groups who are competing for power in the north African country a year after the revolution that overthrew strongman leader Muammar Gaddafi.

(Reporting by Hadeel Al-Shalchi; Editing by Andrew Heavens)