Africa

Libya crisis: Head of Tripoli police 'assassinated'

  • 12 August 2014
  • From the section Africa
Photo of Colonel Muhammad Suwaysi, taken from official facebook page of NSD-T
Image caption Col Muhammad Suwaysi was appointed head of Tripoli's police in 2012

The head of police in the Libyan capital Tripoli has been killed by unknown gunmen.

Col Muhammad Suwaysi was shot while leaving a meeting in Tajoura, a suburb in the east of the capital.

Two of his colleagues were also taken captive, the interior ministry said.

Libya has been gripped by violence involving militias that spearheaded the 2011 uprising against Muammar Gaddafi. Thousands have been forced to flee recent fighting in Tripoli.

More than three years after the uprising, Libya's police and army remain weak in comparison to the militias who control large parts of the country.

'Hard-working man'

The official Facebook page of the National Security Directorate of Tripoli said that Col Suwaysi had been assassinated.

Interior ministry spokesman Rami Kaal told the BBC that the police chief had been in Tajoura for a meeting with local authorities.

"On his way back from Tajoura, their vehicle was ambushed at a traffic light by two cars with armed men," he said.

"Col Suwaysi refused to get out of the car, and the men shot at the car - he died of a bullet to the head."

Two of Col Suwaysi's colleagues complied with orders to leave the car and were kidnapped, he said.

Mr Kaal described Col Suwaysi as "a friend and a good, hard-working man".

Several hundred people are believed to have died in July and August in an upsurge of unrest.

The fighting has been centred around the international airport in Tripoli and in the eastern city of Benghazi.