Libya round-up: Editor who condemned terror shot dead, and more

Meftah Bouzid (right), editor of the weekly newspaper Burniq, was shot dead on May 26, 2014 in Benghazi, an Islamist stronghold, medics said

An outspoken Libyan newspaper editor has been shot dead in the eastern city of Benghazi.

Witnesses said that a gunman repeatedly shot Muftah Buzeid at close range through his car window after his vehicle was blocked by another car.

Mr Buzeid, 49, was a prominent local journalist and editor of an independent newspaper. He had become an outspoken critic of Islamist terrorists, who have been blamed for a year of killings in which more than 200 members of the military as well as security aides have lost their lives. He had apparently been on his way to deliver copies of his newspaper when he was killed.

On Sunday night, the evening before he was shot, Mr Buzeid appeared on the Libya al-Ahrar TV channel to discuss the security crisis in the city.

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A fellow journalist in Benghazi described Mr Buzeid as “a brave man who loved Libya and carried on his work despite receiving threats and being advised to leave the country”.

Several weeks ago Mr Buzeid had argued on a different television channel with some leading Islamist figures, including Sufian bin Qumu, a former Guantánamo Bay inmate described as the head of Ansar al-Sharia in Derna.

“Libya is facing the worst crisis since the civil war took place,” said Bernardino Leon, the EU special envoy to Libya, on Sunday. “Terrorist groups, particularly in the east, are a very serious threat to this country.”

Reporters Without Borders condemned the killing. A spokesman said: “We urge the Libyan authorities to do everything in their power to quickly end the cycle of violence prevailing in Libya and to ensure that journalists are able to practice their profession without being threatened, arrested, injured or laying down their lives.”

Other Libya News

Libyan premier wins congress backing after ex-general’s threats: (Reuters) – Libya’s new Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq won a vote of confidence from parliament on Sunday in defiance of a renegade former army general who has challenged the assembly’s legitimacy.

Maiteeq, backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, was initially elected two weeks ago after a chaotic parliamentary session that some lawmakers had rejected as illegal.

Libya’s legislature is at the center of a growing standoff between rogue former general, Khalifa Haftar, with a loose alliance of anti-Islamist militias, and pro-Islamist factions positioning for influence in the North African country.

People walk under an election campaign billboard of presidential candidate and former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a day ahead of presidential elections at Talaat Harab Square in Cairo May 25, 2014

In lawless Libya, Egypt’s Sisi becomes a star: (Reuters) – Libyan civil servant Mohamed Ali has put on his business card a picture of the only man he thinks can save his country from falling apart – Egypt’s new strongman Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Libya is preparing for elections next month, but many Libyans have long given up on their own parties paralyzed by political infighting three years after the revolution and civil war that brought down Muammar Gaddafi.

Instead, Libyans look to their eastern neighbor where former army chief Sisi is expected to easily win this week’s elections after his military forced out an elected Islamist president from office.

Tired of militias and Islamist militants filling a power vacuum left by a five weak prime ministers since 2011, many see the revival of strongman rule in Egypt as their dream scenario.

Rebels under Libyan rebel leader Ibrahim Jathran guard the entrance of the al-Ghani oil field, which is currently under the group’s control, south of Ras Lanuf March 18, 2014.

Eastern Libya oil rebel says does not recognize new government: The leader of protesters occupying Libyan oil ports said on Monday he did not recognize the new government of Prime Minister Ahmed Maiteeq and suggested a deal to end the blockade, reached with the previous administration, could be jeopardized.

Ibrahim Jathran, who wants more federalist power for his eastern region, had agreed with Maiteeq’s predecessor to steadily open up ports that have been under control of his men since last summer, and help restart Libya’s oil exports.

He made no direct reference to the oil deal, but in a statement on a television channel operated by his federalist movement, he said that with Maiteeq in office his group may be forced to change its position.