6 000 Libyans held by brigades, UN says

2012-03-01 09:21
New York - Up to 6 000 Libyans are detained in facilities run by revolutionary brigades that helped oust Moammar Gadhafi, the United Nations said on Wednesday. It urged Libya to hurry its process of putting those facilities under government control.

The top UN envoy to Libya, Ian Martin, told the Security Council that Libyan authorities recognise that their main challenge is to address the wide circulation of weapons in the country and the future of the revolutionary fighters, and to develop professional state security institutions under civilian control.

Hundreds of armed militia that fought against Gaddafi’s forces are the real power on the ground in Libya, wielding control over cities, neighbourhoods and borders.

The country has been plagued by revenge attacks by those who suffered at the hands of Gaddafi’s forces during the brutal civil war that ousted the Libyan dictator after more than four decades. Human rights groups have documented reports of widespread torture and killings of detainees deemed loyal to Gaddafi.

Eight detention centres with a total of 2 383 detainees have been placed under government control so far.

Libya celebrated the first anniversary of the start of its revolution on February 17, but Martin said it has had a government for only three months. The country is preparing for elections in June for a 200-member assembly that will appoint a prime minister and select a panel to write the constitution.

The key to successful elections, Martin said, is "a positive evolution of the security situation".

Tremendous challenges

More broadly, he said, "the new government faces tremendous challenges and a heavy legacy from the former regime as it tries to tackle illegal migration and smuggling, effective border control, proliferation of weapons and the need to reverse policies of long-standing discrimination against minority communities and foster national reconciliation among tribes".

Martin said there is little indication that the revolutionary brigades want to stay outside state authority. He said the Ministry of Interior has established local security committees to coordinate security operations among participating brigades, and they were deployed during the February 17 anniversary celebrations.

When a government decision last week transferring control of land, air and seaport infrastructure from the brigades to the Ministry of the Interior is implemented, it will be "a significant step forward in exerting state control", he said.

Martin said the registration process for ex-combatants that began in January is nearing completion, with approximately 148 000 former fighters registering to date. He said about 15 percent appear to be choosing to join the army, and a similar percentage want to join the police.

Martin told the council that Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim el-Keib, who will be at the UN next week, has said he wants to strengthen Libya's security and defence forces during the remaining four months of his government's tenure.

Read more on:    un  |  muammar gaddafi  |  libya  |  libya protests  |  north africa  |  uprisings

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.