13 August 2014

Libyan Parliament Asks UN for 'Urgent Intervention' Against Militias

Photo: Al Jazeera English
More than 50 people have been killed in fighting in Libya since Saturday night. Weeks of violence in Benghazi and the capital Tripoli have forced many foreign diplomats to leave the country. Al Jazeera's Erica Wood reports.

Libya's new parliament has adopted a resolution asking the UN for help to deal with militia violence across the country. The assembly has said it wants to integrate members of the militias into the regular army.

Libyan lawmakers, meeting Wednesday in the far-eastern coastal city of Tobruk amid fighting in the country's two main cities, voted strongly in favor of an appeal for outside help.

An overwhelming majority, 111 of the 124 deputies present, voted for a resolution that would call on the UN Security Council to take action to protect civilians.

"The international community must intervene immediately to ensure that civilians are protected," MP Abu Bakr Biira told the AFP news agency, quoting from the resolution. There was no further elaboration from the assembly, elected on June 25, about what sort of intervention was needed to put an end to the mounting violence.

The resolution was adopted on the same day the parliament voted to disband the militias brigades, composed largely of ex-rebels involved in the toppling of ousted late leader Moammar Gadhafi, and integrate them into the regular military.

Of particular concern at present is inter-militia fighting in and around the capital, Tripoli, and battles in Benghazi between rogue army general Khalifa Hifter and Islamists.

The often heavily armed militias are, at present, more powerful than the Libyan state's own armed forces.

On Tuesday, hooded gunmen shot and killed Tripoli police chief Colonel Mohamed al-Suissi in the city's eastern suburbs.

(AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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