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article imageRival militias fight in Libya as NTC says things under control

By Katerina Nikolas     Nov 14, 2011 in World
Libya's interim leader, Mustapha Abdul-Jalil, reassured Libyans this weekend with the words "everything is under control," even as rival groups of rebel fighters continued to kill each other with weapons they refuse to hand over.
Armed fighters from Libyan rebel brigades that united to fight the joint enemy of Col. Gaddafi and his loyalists, now turn their weapons against each other. The grab for power between rival factions has left at least 13 dead since last week, according to the Australian, as former rebel fighters turn machine guns and rockets against each other.
Fighters from the coastal town of Zawiyah clashed with fighters from Warshefana this weekend. According to the New York Times some groups still accuse the Wahefanans of supporting Gaddafi. Armed fighters from Misrata roam the streets of Tripoli in addition to pursuing black Tawerghans. Amidst the continual skirmishes, interim leader Mustapha Abdul-Jalil said "I want to assure the Libyan people that everything is under control" even as the fighting continued.
Clearly everything is not under control as the fighters refuse to relinquish their weapons. CS Monitor reported that a Western official said there is no common goal in Libya now that Gaddafi is gone. Jalil has admitted the NTC has no solution to disarming the rogue groups.
The violent death of Muammar Gaddafi displayed the nature of some rebel fighters whom the interim government is now powerless to disarm. There have been reports of armed men harassing passengers in cars, and though most are only armed with machine guns, some drive round with anti-aircraft guns attached to their trucks.
Some retain their weapons in case their worst case scenario comes true and Libya comes under the control of religious extremists. According to the Daily Mail "many former rebel fighters talk openly about launching a new revolution if the country’s political leaders on the National Transitional Council give in to pressure from Belhaj, head of the Military Council, to turn Libya into a fundamentalist Islamic state." Abdel Hakim Belhaj, founder member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group that was declared illegal under Gaddafi and provided many fighters in Iraq, already has pivotal influence in the post-Gaddafi Libya.
For now though the weapons are not being used against Belhaj or others with links to al Qaeda, but are turned on rival groups, reducing their numbers in constant clashes which show no sign of subsiding.
More about Libya, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, Libya's NTC, Zawiya, Tawergha
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