Libyan army chief quits as Benghazi buries its dead


TRIPOLI: Libya’s army chief resigned on Sunday (Monday in Manila), a day after clashes killed 31 people in Benghazi, the country’s highest political authority said, announcing plans to integrate ex-rebels into the security forces by end of 2013.

To calm the situation after Saturday’s clashes involving former rebels, the General National Congress (GNC) announced the resignation of General Yusef al-Mangoush, who has been criticized for delays in forming a national army.

GNC Vice President Jomaa Atiga also said that, the government was being given two weeks to submit a plan to dissolve armed groups linked to the defence and interior ministries and to integrate their members individually into the regular security forces.

Atiga told a press conference in Tripoli that authorities would have until the end of 2013 to implement the plan.

The decision provides for the dissolution of “all illegitimate armed groups,” “including by use of force,” he said.

The GNC also declared three days of mourning for the victims of Saturday’s violence in the eastern city of Benghazi.

The clashes flared after dozens of demonstrators, some armed, tried to force the powerful
“Shield of Libya” brigade from its barracks in Benghazi.

They encircled the headquarters and called on regular security forces to step in, saying they wanted rid of armed militias in the city.

The Shield of Libya is mostly made up of rebels who battled dictator Moamer Kadhafi in 2011, and it is formally under defense ministry control.

The official Libyan News Agency quoted a source at Al-Jala hospital in Benghazi—cradle of the 2011 uprising that ousted Kadhafi—as saying the fighting had killed at least 31 people and wounded 100 more.



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