Fayez Serraj, head of the U.N.-backed unity government meets with his team in Tripoli, Libya, Thursday, March 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Mohamed Ben Khalifa)
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A self-declared prime minister said Thursday that his forces have seized at least three ministries in Libya's capital, announcing what appeared to be a miniature coup after what he described as a yearlong failure of the current U.N.-backed premier.The U.N. helped establish a third government in Tripoli last year under Fayez al-Sarraj, a Western-backed technocrat, hoping he could unify Libya and lead the fight against Islamist extremists.A spokesman for Sarraj's government dismissed the moves, saying "they are trying to sow chaos but they have no means to control". He said the ministries Ghwell claimed to have seized are either under maintenance, not controlled by Sarraj's government, or were seized briefly before being let go. Ghwell's earlier government was closely allied with Islamist groups, including some hard-line factions.He said conditions have gone "from bad to worse" in the year since Sarraj's government was formed, as Libya has grappled with a financial crisis.
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