'Weeks' needed to disband Libya militias

2011-12-19 22:50

Tripoli - It will take weeks to rid Libya's streets of the militias that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, and months to form an army fit to take their place, Defence Minister Osama Al-Juwali said on Monday.

His comments signalled a rift with others in Libya's interim leadership who have called repeatedly for the heavily-armed militias that swept into Tripoli in August to quit the capital and set them a deadline of the end of this month.

"I think this issue will be resolved in a month and a half, approximately. I'm not setting any deadlines," Al-Juwali said.

Two months after Gaddafi was captured and killed, real power resides with the militias that ousted him and have since carved up the country and capital into competing fiefdoms, each holding out for the share of power they say they are owed.

Turf wars risk spiralling out of control.

Major role

Al-Juwali was endorsed by Libya's National Transitional Council as defence minister in November, thanks largely to the clout wielded by the rebels he commanded in the western mountain town of Zintan.

The Zintan fighters played a major role in the fall of Tripoli. They now control the international airport and the fate of Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the ousted leader's most prominent son, who was captured by Zintan fighters on November 19.

Without a fully functioning army or police, Libya's interim government is struggling to stamp its authority on the oil-producing North African country.

Senior officials, including commanders of the nascent army, have called on the gun-toting militias to return to their homes, and the council in Tripoli has set a deadline of end-December.

Zintan fighters have already fought gun battles with the commander of Libyan ground forces and his sons. The army spokesperson blamed "rogue militias" and said they would "clear the city of weapons".

But Al-Juwali conveyed no sense of urgency. He said the government was working on a plan, but provided few specifics.

"There is a general plan to bring the fighters in," he said.

"Part of them will join the defence ministry, others the interior ministry. There is another plan at the Ministry of Labour to rehabilitate and train these fighters, and I think this plan will be approved soon."

Needs

He spoke in the offices he shares with Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib.

Zintan fighters filled the corridors. The man who piloted the Antonov that brought Saif al-Islam Gaddafi from the desert where he was caught to his cell in Zintan had swapped his green flight fatigues for a sharp, black suit.

"I think the army will be ready to take on its responsibilities before the end of the transitional government," said Al-Juwali. The interim government is due to rule until an election mid-2012.

Al-Juwali said the government was analysing the needs of the national army and what hardware it might seek from abroad. He mentioned military transport planes, specifically US-made C-130 transport aircraft.

In the meantime, the Western powers behind the Nato air war against Gaddafi's forces are pressing for the weapons that swept through the country to be secured and accounted for, fearing they might fall into the hands of radical Islamists.

"Libya could enter the Guinness Book of World Records, it has so many weapons," Al-Juwali said. "By the time this government ends, we will have the weapons under control and in safe places, and the revolutionaries [former rebel fighters] will help collect them."

Read more on:    libya  |  security  |  north africa
NEXT ON NEWS24X

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
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Kasrils enemy of the people - MKMVA

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils is an "enemy of the people" with his "No Vote" campaign, the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid 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

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...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.