Tripoli, 24 June 2013:
The Tawerghan Town Council in exile has headed off rising tensions and a potentially serious crisis by postponing . . .[restrict]tomorrow’s planned return to their abandoned town.
The move followed personal appeals from Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani, and Libya’s Council of Elders. The Tawergha Town Council had earlier rejected Zeidan’s call to avoid direct confrontation by heading back to their homes. Yesterday, however, at the last minute, the president of the council, Abdel Rahman Mahmoud, announced that the displaced people would, after all, postpone reclaiming their abandoned town.
In early May, the Tawerghans, the majority of whom have been living in refugee camps since being expelled from the town by Misratan forces in 2011, announced that they would return peacefully on 25 June.
Mahmoud said that the decision to delay the return had been taken in the higher interests of the nation, according to the Libyan news agency LANA. In a statement delivered to the Prime Minister’s office, he pointed out that the people of Tawergha have been displaced for more than two years with many living in conditions that amounted to torture and deprived them of dignity.
Mahmoud demanded that the General National Congress (GNC) take measures to ensure a swift return to the town. In the meantime, he said, the GNC should take action to improve living conditions of the displaced people, many of whom are living in tents and tin shacks.
A press conference will be held at the Tawergha refugee camp in the Janzour suburb of Tripoli, this afternoon. [/restrict]