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Libya - Jul 30, 2011 - 20:38

Last modified: 30 Jul 2011 17:38

Al Jazeera correspondent Tony Birtley was just at a press conference held by Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the head of the Libyan rebel National Transitional Council. Here's what he had to say:

Finally after a gap of about three days we've been getting further details about the killing of Abdul Fatah Younes, and it appears that there was a warrant signed by Mustafa Abdel Jalil's deputy, who ordered the arrest of General Fatah Younes and men were sent down there to get him and they brought him back. Apparently he was questioned and when he was released, according to Jalil, then he was killed by two men. They fled with the bodies in a car. We were told that they were dumped in a valley and their bodies burned, but he stressed that the throats had not been cut, which he was suggesting that this was not the work of Islamists. 

But there's lots of inconsistencies I have to say with the various versions coming out of the NTC. For example, shortly before Jalil's press conference, the media information minister said that the general had been recalled to Benghazi just to discuss the situation on the frontline. He made no mention of a warrant. Now this is a very serious affair, a warrant for the commander in chief of the opposition armed forces, this is a big deal. 

And what happened after that? We're told that these two fighters who killed him have now disappeared. They're holding their commander, but also, previously the finance minister ... said definitely it was two rebel fighters who were sent down to arrest General Fatah Younes who killed the general. He said that quite clearly.

Now at the press conference today Jalil inferred that this was the work of pro-Gaddafi agents seeking to create divisions within the opposition. So still we're no nearer to the truth at the moment. He said that there is investigation ongoing, he also said that there's going to be a clampdown on militias and groups who do not come under the umbrella of the opposition armed forces, and if they did not agree and come under the umbrella, they would be dealt with according to the law here. [...]

There's no announcement yet [on a successor], Jalil said that that is being looked into. An executive committee will decide in the next few days who that replacement will be. He said that the morale of the troops was still pretty high ... that's a little bit different to what we saw when we went to the funeral of the general, and his men were very, very upset and very angry. They pointed the finger of accusation quite clearly at the Islamists.