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Mayor of Libya's Misrata kidnapped and killed

Haftar does not recognise the authority of the Tripoli-based GNA [File photo: Getty]

Date of publication: 18 December, 2017

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The mayor of Libya's third largest city was kidnapped and killed, with his body dumped in a street as he returned from a trip oversees

Unidentified assailants abducted and killed the mayor of Misrata, Libya's third-largest city, a security source reported on Monday.

The source added that Mohamed Eshtewi's body was found dumped in the street as he returned from a trip overseas.

Mohammed Eshtewi was kidnapped after leaving the airport in the western coastal city Sunday evening. His body was later found dumped in the street, according to the source.

The source added that his brother was in the car with him, and sustained wounds in the attack.

The mayor's body had gunshot wounds according to the city's hospital.

Eshtewi was returning with other members of the city council from an official visit to Turkey. The council was elected in 2014.

Ghassan Salame, the UN envoy for Libya, condemned the killing on Twitter and expressed his "profound sadness" over the news.

UK Ambassador to Libya Peter Millett said he was "deeply saddened by (the) senseless murder", adding the mayor had "worked hard to serve his people".

Misrata, home to some 400,000 people, is considered one of Libya's safest cities.  

Misrata is home to powerful armed forces who were the backbone of an offensive that routed the Islamic State group from the coastal city of Sirte in December 2016.

That offensive was backed by Libya's UN-endorsed Government of National Accord (GNA), one of two main rival governments that emerged from the chaos that followed the 2011 ouster of long-time strongman Muammar Gadaffi.

The extremist group remains a force in Libya despite losing control of Sirte with many of its fighters have redeployed to the country's vast and lawless desert south.

Haftar does not recognise the authority of the Tripoli-based GNA, instead backing an alternate government based in the country's east.

Six years after the 2011 uprising that toppled and killed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, chaos continues to engulf Libya as militants vie for power and access to the country's vast oil reserves.

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