Gunmen open fire in Libyan parliament

Incident forces abandonment of vote to elect prime minister

Abdullah al-Thinni, who resigned as Libya’s acting prime minister two weeks ago, saying gunmen had attacked his family. Photograph: Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

Abdullah al-Thinni, who resigned as Libya’s acting prime minister two weeks ago, saying gunmen had attacked his family. Photograph: Reuters/Ismail Zitouny

Wed, Apr 30, 2014, 01:00

Gunmen stormed Libya’s parliament today and started shooting, forcing lawmakers to abandon a vote on the country’s next prime minister, a parliamentary spokesman said.

Spokesman Omar Hmeidan said several people had been wounded by the shooting started by gunmen linked to one of the defeated candidates for prime minister. Lawmakers were running away from the building, witnesses said.

The government of the North African state has been unable to control heavily-armed militias who helped oust Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 but refuse to disarm and have carved out regional fiefs.

Mr Hmeidan said deputies had started the final vote on a replacement for premier Abdullah al-Thinni, who resigned two weeks ago, saying gunmen had attacked his family.

In the first ballot, businessman Ahmed Maiteeq came out on top among seven candidates. A second round between Maiteeq and the runner-up Omar al-Hasi had been meant to take place when gunmen burst into the assembly. – (Reuters)