Skip to main content

Libyan government minister shot dead in Gadhafi hometown

By Marie-Louise Gumuchian and Mohammed Tawfeeq, CNN
updated 7:03 AM EST, Sun January 12, 2014
Libyan military personnel man a checkpoint set up to try to secure the capital, Tripoli, on October 20, 2013.
Libyan military personnel man a checkpoint set up to try to secure the capital, Tripoli, on October 20, 2013.
  • NEW: Deputy industry minister shot several times, state media reports
  • Killing is the first assassination of government minister since Gadhafi ouster in 2011
  • He was shot dead by gunmen near a market in the port city, defense official says
  • Sirte was the hometown of longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi

(CNN) -- A Libyan minister was shot dead in the first assassination of a transitional government official since dictator Moammar Gadhafi was ousted from power nearly three years ago.

Gunmen driving a car opened fire on Deputy Industry Minister Hassan al-Darouei, killing him instantly while he was visiting his hometown of Sirte, a Libyan defense ministry official said.

The unknown men fired on the minister near a market on Saturday evening in the Mediterranean city some 450 kilometers (280 miles) east of the coastal capital Tripoli.

His body has since been moved to a morgue, the defense official said on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the media.

State news agency LANA said al-Darouei was shot several times.

Nearly three years after the start of the popular uprising that ended Gadhafi's 42-year rule, Libya is still plagued by violence and targeted killings as a myriad of armed groups often do as they please.

Country awash with weapons

With plentiful weapons left over from the 2011 war, militias, former rebel fighters and militants often resort to force to impose their demands on the weak central authorities.

Prime Minister Ali Zeidan's government, weakened by political infighting and fragile state security forces, is struggling to impose law and order.

For nearly six months, the North African country has seen crude oil production and exports slump due to protests and blockades of oil fields and ports, hurting state coffers.

In the eastern city of Benghazi, cradle of the 2011 uprising, there has been a string of killings targeting security officials.

Sirte was the last bastion Gadhafi's fight to hold onto power after the capital fell to rebel fighters. He was found hiding in a drain pipe and was killed on October 20, 2011.

Al-Darouei was a member of the National Transitional Council, the political wing of the 2011 rebellion against Gadhafi's rule.

He held the office deputy minister for industry since the transitional government was set up.

CNN's Greg Botelho contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:42 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Successful launch of lunar orbiter, seen as a precursor for a planned mission to the surface of the moon, marks significant advance for the country's space program.
updated 3:15 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, shot while standing guard at Ottawa's National War Memorial, was known for his easygoing manner and smile.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Non-stop chatter about actress' appearance is nasty, cruel, hurtful, invasive and sexist.
updated 6:08 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
CEO's 30-min Putonghua chat is the perfect charm offensive for Facebook's last untapped market.
updated 11:45 PM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
updated 4:58 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Air New Zealand's new 'Hobbit' safety video stars Peter Jackson, Elijah Wood, elves and orcs.
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Thu October 23, 2014
A 15-year-old pregnant girl is rescued from slavery, only to be charged with having sex outside of marriage, shocked rights activists say -- a charge potentially punishable by death.
updated 11:33 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014
After sushi and ramen, beef is on the list of must-eats for many visitors to Japan.
updated 12:07 PM EDT, Mon October 20, 2014
Airports judged on comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.
updated 1:48 PM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Scientists use CT scans to recreate a life-size image of the ancient king.
updated 5:59 AM EDT, Wed October 22, 2014
Despite billions spent on eradicating poppy production, Afghan farmers are growing bumper crops, a U.S. government report says.
updated 6:21 AM EDT, Fri October 24, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.