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Body of Libya ex-oil minister brought home for burial

Libyan former oil minister Shukri Ghanem (© 2009 AFP)

The body of Libyan former oil minister Shukri Ghanem, who was found dead in the Danube river in Vienna late last month, was flown home to Tripoli on Thursday.

His casket, which was draped in white and tagged as a diplomatic pouch, was unloaded onto the tarmac of Tripoli international airport.

Ghanem, a top official in slain dictator Moamer Kadhafi’s regime who defected to the opposition, was discovered floating in the Danube last Sunday.

Preliminary medical reports issued by Austrian police suggested that Ghanem drowned with “no signs of involvement by another party.”

Ghanem was acting prime minister between 2003 and 2006.

He was then oil minister and chairman of the Libyan National Oil Corporation until he defected in June last year, at the height of the rebellion that led to Kadhafi’s overthrow.

A frequent visitor to Vienna, where he regularly attended meetings of the OPEC oil cartel, he sought refuge in the Austrian capital following his defection and was officially a resident there, according to police.

“Several parties have asked for him to be buried in Libya,” said interim government spokesman Nasser al-Manaa.

Signature : TRIPOLI (AFP)

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