News / Middle East

Rival Militias Quit Tripoli, Hand Bases to Libyan Army

Al Qaqaa brigade commander Othman Mlekta gives announcing withdrawal from Tripoli during handing over ceremony of Zintan's al Qaqaa brigades' base, Mittiga airbase, Libya, Nov. 21, 2013.
Al Qaqaa brigade commander Othman Mlekta gives announcing withdrawal from Tripoli during handing over ceremony of Zintan's al Qaqaa brigades' base, Mittiga airbase, Libya, Nov. 21, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Rival Libyan militias surrendered their bases to the army and retreated from Tripoli on Thursday in the face of popular anger against their refusal to disarm in the two years since they toppled longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.
 
Islamist militants have become an increasing worry for Western powers, concerned that violence in the OPEC country could spill over to its North African neighbors.
 
At Mittiga airbase, militias tied to the Islamist-leaning Supreme Security Committee (SSC) said they would turn over control to the army. The powerful al Qaqaa brigades from Zintan, southwest of Tripoli, also handed over their base, commanders and officials said.
 
"In response to the people's demands, we decided to hand over our headquarters, and all weapons inside," said a spokesman for the deterrence force, one of the SSC militias. "We will sign up for the police as individuals."
 
Prime Minister Ali Zeidan told the ceremony in Mittiga: "Clearing Tripoli of armed presences is a decision that will include all armed brigades without exception."
 
But with Libya's fledgling military still outgunned by the former fighters, his government may struggle to reassert control over the gunmen. Zeidan himself was briefly abducted by militia last month.
 
"The government is still weak and doesn't have enough force to secure the city or the country," said Adel Faraz, a public employee in Tripoli. "This might be a good initiative, but I don't trust them not to come back or to give up their weapons."
 
Militias also pose a challenge outside Tripoli. For months, former fighters once employed to guard oil sites have taken over ports in the east, disrupting exports in protests for regional autonomy. The International Monetary Fund expects the economy to shrink by 5.1 percent this year.
 
Turf wars
 
Libyans have grown increasingly frustrated with the gangs of ex-fighters who remain loyal to their commanders in turf wars and disputes, even after the government put them on its payroll to provide security in Tripoli.
 
Many of the militias, who have heavy weaponry and trucks with anti-aircraft cannons, were associated with the defense or interior ministries as vigilantes or security guards.
 
The retreat from the capital was triggered by clashes last Friday, when more than 45 people were killed after gunmen from one militia opened fire on protesters marching on their base to demand they leave the city. It leaves Tripoli's security mostly in the hands of the nascent armed forces and police.
 
Militias from Misrata, including the Gharghour Brigades which were involved in the clashes, withdrew from Tripoli on Monday under instructions from leaders of their city, which lies east of the capital.
 
The U.S. military and NATO have promised aid and training to build up Libya's forces. But most programs are just starting and militias are unlikely to disband or disarm while their rivalries over territory and control go unresolved.
 
Those tensions mirror divisions in Libya's government, where the secular National Forces Alliance has been in a standoff with a wing of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood over the country's transition to democracy since Gaddafi's fall.
 
Libya is still trying to write a new constitution to address the distribution of oil wealth and regional powers. Analysts say militia rivalries are likely to continue until the country makes progress toward new elections.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sonia from: USA
November 21, 2013 7:18 PM
oh... how cute... and they recycle...!!!

Al Kaka brigade... LOL

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid