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article imageConvoy of Libyan unity government PM comes under fire in Tripoli

By Ken Hanly     Feb 20, 2017 in World
Tripoli - A convoy of Faiez Serraj the Prime Minister of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) was shot at in Tripoli on Monday (February 20).
As well as Serraj, head of the High State Council, Abdurrahman Swehli, and of the Presidential Guard, Najmi Nakua, were also in the convoy. None of the three men were hurt according to Ashraf Tulty a spokesperson for the GNA. The attack happened as the convoy passed through the Abu Salim district. There are numerous militia groups that control different parts of Tripoli. While some support the GNA others oppose it. There are frequent clashes between various militia.
Tulty claimed that reports that two guards had been injured were not true. Some bullets had struck the armored vehicles. Tulty said:"There is an ongoing investigation into the source of the shooting. They want to figure out if there was any party behind the shooting or if it was random."
Serraj's office also issued a statement which claimed that just one vehicle had been hit as the convoy was returning from a new headquarters for criminal investigations. It also said that no one was wounded. A somewhat garbled tweet claims: " Swahili attacks armed men loyal to Ghwell of attempting to assassin him and vows to prosecute him " I assume this means that Swehli is accusing armed men loyal to the attempted coup leader Khalifa Ghwell as being behind the attack. Ghwell is PM of the Salvation Government and leader of members of an attempted coup that have control of the Rixos hotel complex in Tripoli. Many of the former group of Presidential Guards defected and support Ghwell. Just recently several militia groups formed the Libyan National Guard that also supports him.
Another spokesperson Ahraf al-Thulthi confirmed the attack saying:"The convoy of GNA (Government of National Accord) chief Fayez al-Sarraj... came under fire as it passed near the Abu Slim sector of Tripoli. All the cars were armour-plated, and there were no injuries." He said that an investigation was under way to find the assailants. Another spokesperson, Mohamed Salem, contradicted other reports claiming that two guards were wounded.
Other spokespeople gave an entirely different version of events. Abdul-Rahman Al- Taweel speaking on TV denied that the convoy was the target of the fire and that the motorcade was passing through an area where militia were clashing. Ashrer Al-Thilti a spokesperson for the PC gave a similar account. However, later the PC issued a statement confirming the incident as reported by other sources. As the Libya Observer observes: "Contradictions keep sweeping the PC to the extent that in one single hour three different statements were given on the same incident, which was reported by all media outlets and social media."
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