Libyan army orders militias to leave state offices
The Libyan army on Sunday gave illegal militias a two-day ultimatum to evacuate state-owned premises or face force, local media reported, hours after authorities in the North African country ordered the militias to disband, DPA reported.
The president of the National Congress, the country's highest authority, Mohammed al-Magariaf, late Saturday said all militias "not operating under the state legitimacy" would be dissolved.
"The army staff command has also been ordered to tighten its control on (militia) brigades and camps operating under its supervision in preparation for fully integrating them into the state institutions," al-Magariaf was quoted by the Libyan independent news agency Solidarity Press as having said in a statement.
The army said Sunday it would use force if necessary in carrying out the evacuation order, the news agency said.
Two powerful militias - the Bu Selim Martyrs Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia - have said they will dissolve and hand over their headquarters to state authorities in the eastern city of Derna, the official Libyan News Agency meanwhile reported.
Several militias have operated out of public buildings since the armed uprising that deposed the regime of Moamer Gaddafi last year.
On Friday, hundreds of protesters backed by security forces overran the headquarters of Ansar al-Sharia in the eastern city of Benghazi. The group is suspected of carrying out a deadly attack on the US consulate more than a week ago. It has however denied involvement.
Protesters also stormed the premises of the Rafallah Sahaty, an Islamist militia overseen by the army.
At least 10 people were killed in the takeover raids, according to media reports.
Libya's new rulers have been struggling to establish security in the country, a task proving elusive with the proliferation of weapons and the presence of rival militias who were united in fighting against the Gaddafi regime.