11 Killed As Libyans Depose Benghazi Militias
In late breaking developments, the anti-militia protests and occupations of militia bases have expanded their scope. Some pro-GNC militias bases were also occupied. AFP reports these happenings in 11 Killed As Libyans Depose Benghazi Militias — Ansar Al Sharia members flee as protesters storm and torch its compound which quotes Jason Pack framing the big picture.
Libyan protesters ousted a jihadist militia from its headquarters and seized a raft of other paramilitary bases in second city Benghazi early Saturday in heavy clashes that left 11 people dead.
But to the alarm of senior officials, the demonstrators also stormed a raft of other paramilitary bases in the city controlled by former rebel units that had declared their loyalty to the central government.
“We came peacefully and asked them with our loudspeakers to disarm,” said protester Nasser Saad, stressing that armed reinforcements only came after the demonstration was attacked. But one of the brigade’s fighters, Ahmad Faraj, insisted that the goal of the attackers was not the suppression of militias but the seizure of the base’s armoury. “They were coming to take our weapons,” he said. “We are part of the ministry of defence, we fought in the revolution, we can’t just walk away and hand over heavy weapons to a bunch of drunks and criminals.” National assembly chief Mohammad Al Megaref, who had initially welcomed the Benghazi protest, urged the demonstrators to withdraw from the bases of loyal brigades. He named Raf Allah Al Sahati and February 17 Brigades, and Shield Libya. Libya specialist Jason Pack said that the scale of the anti-militia protest in Benghazi showed the “depth and breadth of support for the United States that prevails in Libya in the wake of the attack on Ambassador Chris Stevens.”
“Now with the people calling for a hardline anti-militia policy, Libyan leaders may find themselves steeled with the requisite courage to purge these groups from the Libyan body politic,” Pack said.