Libya army chief resigns after clash

2013-06-09 21:15

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Libya - Libya's army chief of staff resigned on Sunday as an elite military unit took control of a base of pro-government militias after clashes killed 31 people in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The developments underlined the security chaos in Libya more than a year and a half after long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi was deposed in a civil war.

The violence broke out on Saturday when protesters stormed a base belonging to Libya Shield, a grouping of militias aligned with the military that were tasked with helping to maintain security. The protesters were demanding that the militias leave their camp and submit to the full authority of Libya's security forces.

It remains unclear which side fired first. Libyan officials have provided few details of the clashes.

Witnesses said some of the protesters brought weapons to the camp, which was the main Benghazi base for Libya Shield militiamen. The militiamen appeared outnumbered by hundreds of protesters outside the gates.

Hospital officials said protesters made up most of the dead. Many were buried Sunday. The officials spoke anonymously as they were not authorized to speak to reporters.

According to the director at the city's Jalaa Hospital Mohamed Belied, the deaths were caused by gunshots and explosive fragments. He said that dozens of people were wounded.

In one immediate result of the violence, Army Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Youssef al-Mangoush resigned citing the unusually high death toll from the Benghazi clashes.

Military officers had been protesting against al-Mangoush for weeks, accusing him of corruption and of failing to exert authority over militias. Some militias were believed to have favored al-Mangoush remaining in his post, because he had been unable to replace them with a strong unified force.

Benghazi, the birthplace of the revolution that led to the ouster of Gaddafi, was the site of the 11 September assault last year on the US diplomatic mission that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. High level police officials have also been assassinated and security bases have come under frequent attack there by unidentified assailants.

Militias have taken on greater roles since the fall of Gaddafi, providing border protection and security at airports to fill the vacuum as the central government has been unable to exert control.

The deadly clashes are likely to further enflame anger against militias, which have been accused of acting with impunity and enforcing their own agendas.

While some Libyans see the continued presence of militias as an obstacle to restoring security in the North African state, others believe they are playing a positive role in maintaining law and order while efforts to rebuild a professional army and a police force are underway.

Many residents of the city blame the country's central government for failing to impose its authority on militias and clamp down on a proliferation of weapons from the 2011 civil war. Some have even pressed for self-rule, complaining about discrimination by the west, where the capital, Tripoli, is located.

Special forces known as "Saaqa" took over control of Libya Shield's base in Benghazi after the clashes there. During their attempt to enter the base, five members of Saaqa were killed and 10 wounded by an explosion, according to Col. Abdullah el-Shiafy in remarks carried by the official Libyan News Agency LANA.

Other security units took control of three other Libya Shield bases in Benghazi, according to el-Shiafy.

The pro-government militia has yet to announce its next steps.

Prime Minister Ali Zidan, in a statement issued early Sunday after he cut short a tour in Libya's western towns, described the events as "sad and painful" and urged people to be cautious and exercise self-restraint.

- AP
Read more on:    muammar gaddafi  |  libya
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

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
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

BMW drift battle: M235i vs. speedway bike

Watch this insane drift contest with four-times dirt-track World champion Karl Maier riding a speedway bike against a BMW M235i.

 
 

Men24.com

Want to start talking dirty?
Everyday struggles of naturally skinny guys
And this year's Miss Bumbum title goes to...
How to maintain your mo, bro

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Jobs in Western Cape region

Fund Accountant,Assc1

Western Cape
State Street Global Human Resources
R17 000 - R18 000 Per Month

Hotel Receptionist

Cape Winelands
Persona Staff

Import Controller

Cape Town CBD
Evolution Recruitment
R14 000 - R18 000 Per Month

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong focus on social interaction and connecting with your friends. You may have the need to expand and connect with a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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.

Settings

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.