Cairo: Lebanon's Interior Minister Mohammed Fahmi, an ally of President Michel Aoun, admitted that he has killed two people during the country's 15-year civil war and that he was protected by Aoun.
"In 1981, I had a problem with a very powerful party. I killed two people," Fahmi, a Sunni Muslim, told Al Manar TV, a mouthpiece of the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah group. "I apologise to the family, everyone and viewers."
Fahmi, 62, added that the killing had triggered a clash at the time with the party whom he did not name. According to him, Aoun, who was a senior army officer at the time, summoned him to his office.
"He told me: 'Mohammed as long as I breathe, no-one would harm you'," the minister quoted as saying. "This is something that neither I nor my family will forget. I'm a loyal person," Fahmi told Al Manar in an interview as he was talking about what he called his "sentimental' relation with Aoun.
Lebanon experienced a devastating civil war from 1975 for 15 years.
Fahmi, a retired army brigadier, was named an interior minister in January in the government of Hassan Diab following mass street protests against the country's ruling elite and rampant corruption. The protests forced the previous government led by Saad Al Hariri to step down.
Fahmi's killing admission has provoked an outcry in Lebanon, which is grappling with a grinding economic crisis compounded by a plunge in the local currency.
Critics turned to social media to express outrage. "Killers have risen to the rank of ministers in the era of Michel Aoun. So, they are loyal to him," read one tweet. "You killed two as if you were saying you drank Nescafé!" read another. Others users on twitter have tweeted pictures of who might the two men the minister have killed.
So far, there has been no comment from Aoun, a Christian, who has been president since 2016.