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Former Libyan oil minister found dead in river in Vienna

Shukri Ghanem had fled from Libya last May saying he was leaving Gaddafi’s regime and supporting the rebels.

Shukri Ghanem pictured in June last year
Shukri Ghanem pictured in June last year
Image: AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

A FORMER OIL minister of Libya has been found dead in the Danube river in Vienna.

Shukri Ghanem had defected from Libya last May as the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime intensified. Ghanem announced he was leaving Gaddafi’s regime and offering his support to the rebels who ultimately toppled the dictator.

A police spokesman said that Ghanem’s body, dressed in normal clothes, was found floating in the river on Sunday, CNN reports. He had left the family home early on Sunday morning.

The 69-year-old’s body showed no obvious signs of violence and the cause of his death remains unclear. An autopsy is due to be carried out.

“There would be no signs of violence if someone pushed him in,” the spokesperson for the Austrian police said. “But it’s also possible that he became ill and fell into the water”.

Ghenam had held senior positions within OPEC, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, which is based in Vienna,  before he was appointed as prime minister of Libya in June 2003. He held the position for three years until he was appointed as minister for oil in 2006.

- Additional report by Associated Press

Read: ‘Together we can make it’: UN observer chief appeals for Syrian ceasefire support >

Previously: France raises prospects of military intervention in Syria >

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