Libyan rebels name team to run areas they control

BENGHAZI, Libya Sat Apr 2, 2011 8:06pm BST

Related Topics

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) - Libya's rebel council named what it called a "crisis team" on Saturday, including a new armed forces head, which will administer parts of the country it holds in its struggle to topple Muammar Gaddafi.

The team headed by Mahmoud Jebril will take its direction from the transitional national council, which remains the top rebel political body, council spokesman Hafiz Ghoga told a news conference.

Omar Hariri is in charge of the military department, with General Abdel Fattah Younes al Abidi, a long serving officer in Gaddafi's armed forces, as his chief of staff. Younes will be in charge of staff matters and field operations, Ghoga said.

Younes, a former Libyan interior minister, changed sides at the start of the uprising in mid-February but is distrusted by many in the rebel camp because of his past ties to Gaddafi.

The role of Khalifa Hefta, who was previously named as head of the new army being formed by the rebel leadership, was unclear. Ghoga said Hefta was welcome to help but had never been the military leader -- even though a rebel military spokesman had announced him as such in Ghoga's presence two weeks ago.

"He has no position. There is only one army led by Younes," Ghoga said.

The economics and finance portfolio is held by Ali Tarhouni, a U.S.-based academic and opposition figure in exile who returned to Libya to help the struggle. Under Tarhouni, a new National Oil company will be led by Waheed Bougaighis and a Central Bank by Ahmad Shareef.

Others appointments included foreign affairs -- Ali El-Essawi, infrastructure -- Jumma El-Osta, information -- Mahmoud Shamman and justice -- Muhammad El-Alagi.

Rebel officials have previously said they did not want to call the council or cabinet a provisional government, but they have also appealed for foreign governments to recognise it as the legitimate government. So far, France and Qatar have done so.

(Reporting by Angus MacSwan:; Editing by David Stamp)

FILED UNDER: