Libyan news agency makes rare criticism of the army

Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:30pm GMT

* Libya Press Agency says some in army are corrupt

* Says Libyan army is inefficient

RABAT, Jan 18 (Reuters) - A Libyan news agency, that has links to a son of leader Muammar Gaddafi, has accused some military officers of corruption and demanded that civilians lead the defence ministry, in a rare criticism of the country's army.

In a piece from its political editor, Libya Press, part of the Al Ghad media group founded by reform-minded Saif al-Islam said the 130,000-strong army was bloated and inefficient.

"The armed forces have taken over thousands of acres of land that were needlessly transformed into camps and barracks and later became sources of wealth for many," Libya Press said.

"They (unidentified officers) have dealt in the assets and in the land and opened new paths ... for corruption, which the national army should have kept away from," it wrote.

A Libyan army officer commented: "Whoever wrote this does not seem to know Libya well."

Libya's reformist and conservative camps have clashed in the past over the country's political direction, and the Al Ghad group has at times been drawn into these disputes.   Continued...

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