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Libya's Army Chief Resigns After Deadly Benghazi Clashes

Men pray over a grave at the funerals for those killed in Saturday's clashes at the Libya Shield brigade headquarters, in Benghazi Jun. 9, 2013.
Libya's army chief has resigned after clashes between protesters and a government-aligned militia left 31 people dead in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The violence erupted Saturday when protesters in Benghazi stormed a base of a group of Islamist militias paid by the government to help maintain security. The protesters were demanding that the militias lay down their arms and submit to the authority of Libya's security forces.

Army Chief of Staff Youssef al-Mangoush, who was in charge of the militias, resigned Sunday. He has been criticized for delays in forming a national army and allowing the militias to thrive.

Libya's police and military rely on the brigades to help with security of the country. But state security officers have accused al-Mangoush of corruption and of failing to exert authority over the militias.

While Saturday's incident was the most violent involving anti-militia protesters in Benghazi, it was not the first.

Last September, after the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed, hundreds of people attacked the offices of an Islamist militia forcing its dissolution. No deaths were reported in those disturbances.