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article imageOp-Ed: 100 tanks seized from pro-Gaddafi militia in Libya

By Ken Hanly     Aug 24, 2012 in World
Tripoli - Libyan government officials claim that over 100 tanks and heavy weapons were seized from a militia group, the Katibat al-Awfiya, said to be loyal to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
A spokesperson for the interior ministry's High Security Committee claimed that as well as the tanks, 26 missile launchers were seized from a barracks in a town 60 kilometers (35 miles) southeast of Tripoli. Authorities said that the militia posed as revolutionaries. A hundred tanks being left to the control of a militia group of any stripe shows how precarious the security situation is in Libya. The central government still does not control many armed groups. One wonders if the group was really pro-Gaddafi or simply in conflict with the central government.
In the raid on the barracks one person was killed and eight wounded. The leader of the militia was arrested. Thirteen others were arrested but three escaped. The same militia had stormed the Tripoli airport early in June to protest what they called the kidnapping of one of their leaders. Air traffic was blocked for several hours until the group was driven out by central government forces. Just imagine that was in June. The same militia was allowed to continue operating and left to control more than 100 tanks.
Authorities admit that security forces have been infiltrated by supporters of the former regime. The National Assembly met yesterday to discuss security across the country. Recently three people died in conflict between rival tribes in the north of Libya. Car bombs killed two people and wounded four in Tripoli. There were also reports of people wounded in a clash in the town of Ziltan south-east of Tripoli.
There are still militia groups throughout the country who are well-armed and are not willing to give up their weapons. The central government seems to be hesitant to try and disarm these groups by force but until they do the government will be held hostage to their demands. The appended video gives some of the background to recent developments in a discussion of the elections about a month ago.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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