Jubilation In Libya As Militias Withdraw From Tripoli

Libyans protest against the presence of militiamen in Tripoli, November 19, 2013.
Libyans protest against the presence of militiamen in Tripoli, November 19, 2013.

Militias in Libya including two groups from the country’s west have withdrawn from Tripoli, days after fatal clashes with people protesting against the presence of militias in the capital.

According to reports on Thursday, the Zintan-based Al-Qaaqa and Sawaek brigades have left Tripoli.

The Al-Qaaqa Brigade said it handed over to Libyan authorities a site the group had occupied and was returning to its post on the “southern frontier.”

The group was equipped with weapons and vehicles, including tanks.

The heavily armed Sawaek Brigade also said it was pulling out from the premises of an organization founded by former Libyan ruler Moammar Gaddafi. The group had occupied the area since August 2011.

On November 19, Tripoli announced plans to remove militias from the capital and integrate them into the country’s security forces. The announcement came after days of deadly clashes between armed militiamen and people opposing their presence.

On November 15, militiamen from the city of Misrata opened fire on peaceful anti-militia protesters in the southern district of Gharghour, Tripoli. Forty people died and more than 400 others were injured.

Following the incident, the Libyan government announced a 48-hour state of emergency in the capital.

Two years after the fall of Gaddafi, Libya is still plagued by lawlessness and insecurity.

Rival militia groups, which participated in the 2011 uprising against Gaddafi, have been engaged in violent clashes in the Libyan capital and its suburbs over the past few months.

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