Lybian Ambassador Given 72 Hours

Samuel Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe’s minister of foreign affairs, told journalists at a press conference that Taher El Magrahi, the Lybian ambassador, had been asked to leave Harare within three days.

He added that Magrahi had been official informed about the government position regarding his support for the rebels which have overun Tripoli, the Lybian capital.

Last week the Zanu (PF) side of government rapped the ambassador for hoisting the North African state’s new flag before forcing him to later pull down the rebel flag.

“We have given the ambassador seventy two hours to leave Zimbabwe. We do not recognise the NTC,” said Mumbengegwi. He refused to answer questions on speculation that the Lybian leader Muammar Gaddafi was in Zimbabwe after fleeing the rebel on-slaught.

“I refuse to answer hypothetical questions,” said Foreign Affairs Minister when asked about the whereabouts of Gaddafi.

Their ambassador reportedly told Mumbengegwi earlier that the spirit or mood sweeping across Africa could not be ignored.

Mugabe’s government, which is one of a few global administrations still to recognise the NTC, has close ties with the deposed leader.

Libyans in Zimbabwe who include Elmagra gathered at their embassy in Harare along Harare street near opposite TM supermarkets chanting anti-Gaddafi songs.

Earlier Zimbabwe’s state radio announced that Elmagrahi has been given 48 hours to leave the country after the foreign affairs ministry held a meeting with Elmagrahi.

Rebels in Libya who are backed by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) forces stormed Gaddafi’s compound early this week.

Elmagrahi said: “We are now a free nation. From this day, August 24 we are following the Libyan majority, the Libyan people through our National Transitional Council.”

Zimbabwe is host to former Ethiopian dictactor Mengistu Haile Mariam who fled his country in 1991 to the country. Harare has been refusing to hand over him to Addis Ababa to answer charges of mass murder and human rights abuses.