The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is suspending its operations in Libya as they investigate the killing of one of their employees, a spokesman for the organisation said yesterday.
Swiss Michael Greub, the head of ICRC's sub-delegation in Misrata, was shot dead on Wednesday in the coastal city of Sirte. ICRC Director-General Yves Daccord said: "Michael was just leaving a meeting with two colleagues when their vehicle was targeted by a group of armed men. Michael was fatally wounded."
Chaos has spread in the oil-producing country which has witnessed unrest and political strife since the uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 while a number of armed militias have been operating in the country.
Spokesman for the ICRC in Geneva Wolde-Gabriel Saugeron said: "It's a bit difficult to say if the organisation was targeted or our colleague because he was a Westerner. We just need to pause the operation."
ICRC has more than 160 employees in Libya, providing assistance to the wounded or displaced or those affected by the conflict and support the work of the Libyan Red Crescent.
Saugeron said it was too early to know what the organisation would do in the longer term.
He said reports that the Red Cross has withdrawn completely from Libya were mere "speculation". Adding that there was a "range of possibilities" if the organisation felt threatened but expressed hope that the organisation may resume its work as soon as possible.
Militants also fired rocket-propelled grenades at the office of Prime Minister Ahmed Meitik and tried to kill former Major General Khalifa Haftar in a suicide attack on his base in Benghazi in eastern Libya on Wednesday.
At the Red Cross' headquarters in Geneva, the organisation's flag was flown at half-mast yesterday to mourn the death of 41-year-old Greub who had previously worked in Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and Gaza.