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Libya ex-oil minister buried in Tripoli

Shukri Ghanem's funeral in Tripoli (© 2009 AFP)

Dozens of Libyans on Friday joined the funeral procession of former oil minister Shukri Ghanem, who was found dead in the Danube river in Vienna late last month.

“The family of Doctor Ghanem are mourning the sudden and tragic loss of a much-loved and respected man,” said the family in a statement received by AFP.

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

“The latest autopsy report indicates that Dr Ghanem died from natural causes. There is no reason to believe that anyone else was involved,” the family’s statement read.

On Thursday, his casket was flown to Tripoli, draped in white and tagged as a diplomatic pouch.

He was laid to rest in a cemetery in the heart of the Libyan capital after Friday prayers according to Muslim tradition.

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.

Signature : TRIPOLI (AFP)

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