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article imageLibya orders illegal militias to disband

By Layne Weiss     Sep 23, 2012 in World
Benghazi - Libya's interim leader Mohammed Magarief has ordered all the country's militias to either come under government authority or disband. Magarief promised that any militia not recognized by the government would be dissolved.
Militias that came together during the Libyan Civil War last year still remain in power. They were used in the fight to topple Col. Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya's President is calling for these groups to disband in an effort to bring about peace and calm in the country. Anger and protests against militias have been running rampant since the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, which killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and 3 other Americans.
On Friday, residents of Benghazi staged a protest against the militias, even storming the compounds of several armed groups in the area, The AP reports.
On Saturday, President Magarief announced that the militias and military camps "which are not under the control of the state" will be dissolved, BBC News reports.
"We call on everyone to stop using violence and carrying weapons in the streets and squares and public places," he said.
Two militias, the Abu Slim Brigade in Eastern Libya, and Ansar al-Sharia, are both reported to be leaving their bases in Derna. The Abu Slim Brigade has announced plans to disband, while Ansar al-Sharia, an Islamic extremist group, was driven out of its headquarters in a mass protest Friday, The AP reports. The group is suspected of attacking the US consulate on September 11, but has denied any involvement.
The protestors set fire to cars in the compound after driving off the gunmen. The compound was once a major base for Gaddafi's security forces.
The protests left at least 11 people dead, BBC News reports.
In response to Mr. Magarief's announcement, the Libyan Army is giving militias 48 hours to withdraw from military compounds, public buildings, and properties belonging to members of the former regime, CNN reports.
The army vowed to "use force" if necessary to "carry out these orders."
According to The AP, there are still two militias that Libyan authorities rely on. One is Libya Shield, which is led by Wassam Bin Hammad, an Islamist known for resolving tribal disputes. The other is the February 17 Brigade, led by Fawzi Abu Kataf. This group has helped secure borders, and is believed to be closest to the country's authorities.
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