Libyan government promises to disarm Tripoli

Tue Dec 6, 2011 7:11pm GMT

By Taha Zargoun and Ali Shuaib

TRIPOLI Dec 6 (Reuters) - Libya's interim government, under pressure to disarm Tripoli and restore the country after months of civil war, has given regional militias lingering in the capital until late December to hand over security and go home, officials said on Tuesday.

Nearly two months after Muammar Gaddafi was killed, the new government is still unable to impose its authority on the ground, leaving security in the hands of militias who answer only to themselves and often wage turf wars with their rivals.

Prime Minister Abdurrahim El-Keib has met officials from Tripoli's local council to discuss ways of sending home hundreds of out-of-town fighters who have taken a pseudo-police force in the capital, setting up checkpoints across the city.

"There is a schedule for this process," Abdul Razzak Buhajar, head of Tripoli local council, told a news conference.

When asked about the timeframe, he said: "In December ... We have to be patient."

Recent spats of violence have demonstrated that militias remain the biggest threat to Libya's security despite attempts by the newly formed government to get them under control.

On Tuesday, protesters blocked off several streets in Tripoli, demanding that fighters from other parts of the country pull out of the capital.

"They will not allow any weapons to go in or out of the capital," Buhajar said. "Vital sites such as airports will be protected by the defence ministry or interior ministry."   Continued...

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