Six Libyan Security Forces Executed In Benghazi
A car burns near the headquarters of the Ansar al-Sharia group on September 21, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya.
Six members of the Libyan security forces have been “executed” in clashes that broke out when police, government soldiers, and activists stormed the main headquarters of a militia in the eastern city of Benghazi.
“From the nature of the wounds it is clear that the six were executed,” a medical examiner told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The medical examiner added that four of the victims were shot in the head while the others were shot in the chest as well as the head.
According to Libyan officials, the bodies were found in Mashrua al-Safsafa, in the Al-Gawasha area of Benghazi.
This comes after at least four people died and 40 others were injured in a fighting which occurred following a large demonstration against militia groups on Friday.
The protesters, demanding the government demobilize the militias and form a national army and police, stormed Rafalla el-Shati camp in the city.
Hundreds of protestors swooped on the headquarters of the group, located 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the center of Benghazi.
Clashes erupted between the two sides and lasted for two hours before the brigade moved out of their base.
Earlier, Libyan protesters attacked the base of the Ansar al-Sharia group in Benghazi, driving the group out of its headquarters.
UPDATE: Libya to dissolve militias as Islamist strongholds fall
September 23, 2012
Libyan authorities have given armed militias which are not controlled by the government 48 hours to vacate Tripoli or be ejected by force. This comes after pro-government activists stormed the HQ of a radical Salafist group in Benghazi.
The government urged the army to impose its authority by putting its own officers at the head of armed brigades that sprang up during the last year’s uprising against Muammar Gaddafi rule, AFP reports.
“The army chief Yussef al-Mangoush and (national assembly leader) Mohammed Magarief have ordered all illegitimate militias should be removed from compounds and hand over their weapons to the national army,” Defense Ministry spokesman Adel Othman al-Barasi said in a statement.
The groups were given 48 hours to comply, but Barasi advised the militias to start moving out immediately.
The violent takeover of the Benghazi stronghold of Ansar al-Sharia militia by local residents on Friday claimed at least 11 lives and left some 70 wounded. Six of them were militiamen, apparently executed, whose bodies were found at the outskirts of the city.
The government decided to put in place “operation rooms” in the eastern city, bringing together the military, forces of interior and defense ministries and brigades comprising former rebels.
Following the events in Benghazi – the hotbed of the last year’s revolution – two Islamist militias in another city announced that they will disband.
The Abu Slim and Ansar al-Sharia militias based in Derna, a city in eastern Libya, known as an Islamist stronghold, withdrew from their bases on Saturday, Reuters reports.
Local residents believe the announcements by the militias were motivated by the recent violence in Benghazi.
“The militia in Derna saw what happened last night and they decided: we will not kill our brothers. So they disbanded,” Siraj Shennib, a 29-year-old linguistics professor who had been part of protests against the militia, told Reuters. “They said they no longer exist as militias in Derna. They will go home and leave security to the interior ministry and army.”
Abu al-Shalali, 27, an Abu Slim fighter told the news agency that fighters decided to disband following a non-violent confrontation with protesters.
Anti-militia anger has swept parts of Libya since the deadly attack on an American diplomatic mission on September 11, which killed US ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Libyan authorities have been struggling to secure control over the numerous, but not always allied, militias and other groups that brought about Gaddafi’s downfall in 2011.The widespread proliferation of weapons became one the biggest threats to security in the whole region.