TRIPOLI: Libya’s interim authorities said they will hand over power to a newly elected congress on Wednesday, less than a year after its fighters overthrew the regime of Muammar Qadhafi.
“We affirm that August 8, 2012 will be the day that power will be transferred peacefully,” Saleh Darhoub, spokesman for the outgoing National Transitional Council (NTC), told journalists in Tripoli early Monday.
Libyans cast ballots on July 7 in their first free election since a popular uprising last year that escalated into a civil war and ousted the regime of now slain dictator Qadhafi.
They elected a 200-member legislative assembly comprising party and independent representatives, which will replace the NTC and lead the country until fresh elections can be held on the basis of a new constitution.
The transition comes against a backdrop of heightened insecurity.
Three men suspected of planning bomb attacks were killed in a sting operation outside the capital on Sunday.
“The brain of the operation refused to surrender and fought fiercely which resulted in the death of three people, including him,” Darhoub said.
Five members of the interior ministry brigade who carried out the bust were wounded. The clashes took place in a farm in Al-Aziziya, 40 kilometres south of the capital, he added.
Darhoub said that the explosives discovered in the area matched those found by security forces who had foiled “seven bombing plots”. He declined to give details on possible targets.
The sting operation came just one day after a gunbattle and a car bomb rocked a market place in the centre of the Libyan capital, leaving one person wounded, according to medics and witnesses.
On Sunday, armed assailants laid siege to a residence of Red Cross staff in the western Libyan city of Misrata, pushing the organisation to suspend its work there and in the eastern city of Benghazi.
The organisation condemned the attack saying it marked the fifth such incident in the two cities in less than three months.
The NTC said it condemned the violence as “a government and a people”.
“We condemn all acts of violence and we condemn extremism”, Darhoub said, noting that the Red Cross served the country when it was most needed, including when Qadhafi’s troops laid siege to Misrata last year.
The spokesman also said that there were investigations underway following last week’s abduction of a Red Crescent delegation of seven Iranians who were visiting counterparts in Benghazi..
Most of the urban violence to have hit Libya in the wake of last year’s revolt has taken place in Benghazi, with attacks typically focused on Western targets as well as local personalities and institutions.
August alone saw a blast at a military intelligence building in Benghazi and a foiled bomb plot targeting the Tibesti hotel which is favoured by diplomats and journalists visiting the city.