Libyan rebel general's death triggers feud among rebels

09:08, August 01, 2011      

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As the investigation of Libyan rebel commander's death deepened, Libya's opposition seemed to have plunged into discord despite the call for unity by the United States.

Moustafa Abdel-Jalil, chief of the opposition's National Transitional Council (NTC), said Saturday that military commander Abdel Fattah Yunis had been summoned as the NTC's Executive Board received a report which showed some problems in the front line.

Jalil said they had already obtained information of the gunmen who killed Yunis, adding that the rebel forces will arrest them soon and the result of investigation will be unveiled in the coming days.

On the same day, however, Ahmed Omar Bani, the rebels' military spokesman, said the order to summon Yunis is illegal because Jalal al-Dgheli, who is in charge of military affairs at the NTC, had issued a written order to halt all the actions related to the summon.

On July 28, Jalil announced the death of Yunis, Gaddafi's former interior minister who defected to the rebels during the unrest and his body was found on outskirts of Benghazi.

Libyan government spokesman Moussa Ibrahim earlier blamed al-Qaida for the killing of Yunis.

The United States Friday said the death of Yunis was another challenge facing the opposition, calling for unity among the rebels.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the rebels should adhere to their pledges and commitment to unity and representation of all Libyan people.

"They've had now to overcome many challenges in their struggle and I think what's important is that they work both diligently and transparently to ensure the unity of the Libyan opposition," he said.

Yunis's death was announced as the rebel forces launched a broader assault on government forces Thursday and the widespread violence in Libya has left more than 630,000 people displaced throughout the country. More than 1,000 people have died while trying to escape from Libya to Europe.

On Wednesday, at least 6,000 refugees fled Libya into Tunisia through the Ras El Jedir border point.

In an effort to relieve the worsening humanitarian situation, Slimane Shahoumi, secretary of foreign affairs at the Libyan General Congress, met with Tunisian interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi Saturday in Tunis to discuss Tunisian food supply to Libya.

On the same day, the Tunisian Finance Ministry announced that Tunisia will provide food and other necessities to Libya through "legitimate channels" and set up a duty-free zone in the southeastern province of Medenine bordering Libya to facilitate border trade.

Libyan food imports from Tunisia have increased by several folds since its crisis began in February, hitting 142 million U.S. dollars in the four months ending on June 30.

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