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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Newly freed from the Islamic State, Sirte has new mayor

Now the the Islamic State(IS) or ISIS have been defeated in Sirte, the city is attempting to return to normal with the election by city councilors of mayor Mukhtar Al-Madani

Six of seven Sirte councilors voted in Al-Madani at a meeting in Tripoli. The meeting was called by the Committee for Municipal Council Elections (CCMCE) and was supervised by the chair Otman Gajiji. Sirte's municipal councilors were originally elected in May of 2014.
The last time an election for mayor was to be held was two years ago on the third of December. CCMCE officials on their way to Sirte to hold the election were intercepted and seized by gunmen who did not want the election to go ahead. Madani is close to Abdullah al-Thinni head of the House of Representatives (HoR) government and a rival to the UN-brokered Government of National Accord. Al-Thinni had appointed Madani acting mayor of Sirte early this summer. This appointment was not accepted by other councilors, the Al Bunyan Al Marsous mostly Misratan forces who liberated Sirte, or by the UN-brokered Government of National Accord. Now in a rare display of agreement Madani has been accepted by opposing sides.
Peter Millet, the U.K. ambassador for Libya said that Madani could request international help in rebuilding the town. The Misrata 166 Brigade has been given the task of looking after Sirte's security by the Bunyan Marsous Operations Room. Mayor Madani said that the municipal members are in constant contact with the Operations Room in order to set a date as to when they can move from Tripoli back to Sirte. Madani said: “The municipality will be busy providing services for the residents of Sirte and will avoid being involved in the political conflict that is going on in Libya.” Baddad Gansu, Minister of Local Governing of the GNA was dismayed by the invitation of the eastern government ministry of the HoR which urged the councilors to elect a mayor in the eastern region under the supervision of HoR authorities. Gansu said: “The eastern local governing ministry is trying to twist facts and advocate for division by such attempts.”
Another sign of normalization in Sirte was the opening of the first bank since the IS were driven out.
Sirte is being given $7.6 million by the Stabilization Fund for Libya(SFL) to rebuild its Ibn Sina hospital, badly damaged in August fighting with the IS forces. The money is also supposed to fund the reconstruction of four health centres, mobile clinics, ambulances and generators for the hospitals and two schools. The SFL is run under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme by a committee including representatives of the Government of National Accord and the international community.
The Sirte offensive that began in May took a heavy toll with 715 having been killed according to, Akram Qaliwan, a spokesperson for the Misrata General Hospital. He said that more than 3,250 fighters had been wounded.


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