The Labour Minister in the Tripoli-based “National Salvation Government”, Mohamed Balkhair, has been set upon and assaulted by checkpoint guards in his hometown of Ghariyan.
News of the incident has just emerged although it took place last Tuesday on the outskirts of the mountain town 90 kilometres south of Tripoli. According to a reliable source in Ghariyan, Balkhair’s car was heading to the capital but drove through the Abu Rashadah checkpoint at the north end of the town without stopping. As a result the guards start shooting. The vehicle stopped and Balkhair is said to have started swearing at the guards. They reportedly responded by beating him up.
It is unclear if the incident will affect loyalties in Ghariyan. Like many other towns linked to Libya Dawn, there are local divisions over supporting it, although the local militia is said to be firmly in the Dawn camp.
Ghariyan was one of the first towns to come out in support of the UNSMIL-brokered dialogue when Dawn was still opposed to it.