Armed men have murdered a security official in southern Libya, the U.N.-backed government said Thursday, a day after forces opposed to it said they had entered his town.
The interior ministry of the internationally-recognized unity government branded the murder of General Ibrahim Mohamad Kari, security head in the town of Murzuk, a "cowardly crime" and vowed to bring the culprits to justice.
In a brief statement, it said Kari was killed on Wednesday by "an outlawed armed group", without giving further details.
Authorities "will pursue his murderers and bring them to justice" and "will not remain idle in the face of crimes that threaten the security and stability of the country," it added.
Libyan media said Kari, a member of the minority Tubu community, was killed when armed men raided his home in Murzuk.
On Wednesday night, forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar said they had entered and taken control of Murzuk as part of an offensive launched in January.
Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army has said the operation is intended to "purge the south of terrorists and criminal groups" including rebels from Chad.
The unity government, known as the Government of National Accord, accuses the Tubu minority of supporting the Chadian rebels.
Murzuk is a stronghold of the Tubus, many of whom are opposed to Haftar's offensive, and lies in a region where tensions run high between them and Arab tribes, who have largely joined LNA ranks.
Kari's murder also reflects the many divisions that have divided Libya since the 2011 NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed longtime strongman Moammar Gadhafi.
The Tripoli-based GNA is locked in a bitter and protracted power struggle with a parallel administration based in the country's east and backed by Haftar's LNA.
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