US envoy to Libya signs off Twitter after online abuse

March 24, 2015 2:19 pm
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The abuse began after Jones tweeted on Monday about an air strike southeast of the capital Tripoli/FILE
The abuse began after Jones tweeted on Monday about an air strike southeast of the capital Tripoli/FILE
TRIPOLI, Libya, Mar 24 – US ambassador to Libya Deborah Jones has said she will stop communicating through her Twitter account after receiving a barrage of online abuse.

The abuse began after Jones tweeted on Monday about an air strike southeast of the capital Tripoli.

Pro-government forces said the strike hit an arms depot belonging to Islamist-backed militia forces, who said it had killed eight refugees.

“Terrible news today from Tarhouna where 8 innocent displaced Tawergha killed in air strike,” she tweeted, referring to a Libyan minority group.

“This violence serves no one’s interest,” said Jones, who is based between Malta and Egypt and has gained more than 50,000 followers since joining Twitter last year.

By apparently referring to one version of events, Jones unleashed a torrent of vitriol.

“No doubt you are crazy,” read one tweet, while another read “old woman, go away”.

A couple of hours later Jones responded: “I have concluded it is best to cease efforts to communicate via Twitter insofar as it distracts from our goal of peace and stability 4 Libya.”

She signed off with Arabic slang for goodbye, “Masalama”.

An AFP photographer at the scene after the air strike said there was a large crater in a field close to the village with no further signs of damage nearby.

Jones was appointed in March 2013 following the killing of ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in an attack on the consulate building in Benghazi in 2012. She previously served as ambassador to Kuwait from 2008 to 2011.

Libya has been in turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 by rebels backed by NATO air strikes.

The country has had two governments and parliaments since Tripoli was seized in August 2014 by Islamist-backed Libya Dawn and the internationally recognised government fled to the country’s far east.

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