Mahmoud Jibril, the former head of Libyan rebel government that helped overthrow Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, died from coronavirus infection on April 5 in Cairo, Egypt. Jibril breathed his last at the age of 68 on April 5 after his medical condition started deteriorating following a brief recovery.
Jibril’s party secretary said that the former Libyan leader was admitted at Ganzouri Specialized Hospital in Cairo after suffering a cardiac arrest and was later diagnosed with COVID-19. Libya has reported 18 confirmed coronavirus cases with single death but Egypt, where Jibril was residing, has reported around 1,173 cases with 78 fatalities.
Jibril was an economic adviser to the Gaddafi government but later formed National Transitional Council (NTC) which worked as an interim government during NATO-backed rebellion. According to media reports, he made several foreign trips during the uprising to mobilise support from the United States and European nations.
After the authoritarian regime was toppled and Gaddafi was killed, Jibril was elected as the leader of the newly-founded National Forces Alliance (NFA). Jibril’s party won the poll in the first free elections in four decades but the Libyan leader lost the vote in Parliament which chose an independent candidate to become the Prime Minister.
Jibril left Libya amid growing violence due to a political crisis which is still ongoing. Libya has been facing a political and humanitarian crisis after the self-styled Libyan National Army, headed by Khalifa Haftar, launched a battle against the Tripoli’s UN-recognised government. Thousands of Tripoli residents have been displaced due to the shelling that started earlier this year targeting the outskirts of the Libyan capital.
Last month, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the positive response from warring parties of the Government of National Accord and the Libyan National Army. Guterres hoped that the positive response to the calls for a humanitarian pause to stop the fighting will be translated into an immediate and unconditional cessation of hostilities.