Libya orders militias to come under government control or disband

Libya orders militias to come under government control or disband

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[JURIST] The Libyan army ordered all militias to either come under the control of the national government or disband within 48 hours on Saturday. The announcement comes after intense anti-militia protests that included between 30,000 and 40,000 demonstrators [Libya Herald report] in Benghazi killed at least eleven people over the weekend. All militias have been ordered to leave all military bases and compounds [Guardian report] which are then to be secured by the Libyan army. Agreements have been reached with two powerful groups in Derna, which is about 180 miles east of Benghazi, who agreed to disband. Some military bases have already been secured by the army. While the government plans on disbanding all groups that do not fall under government control [Libya Herald report], it is unclear to some how effective it can be in disbanding militias in areas that have historically been under weak government control.

The protests were reportedly sparked by unrest of the Libyan people following the September 11 raid of the US embassy [Libya Herald report] and the death of US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The militia group, Ansar Al-Sharia, which has been linked to the raid, has agreed to disband [Libya Herald report] and four of its members were arrested under suspicion of being involved in the raid. There has been significant controversy surrounding the raid which was originally reported as a response to an offensive video and has now been deemed a coordinated attack [CNN report] by some analysts.