Libyan army chief sacked over Benghazi clashes
Libyan security personnel stand guard in an armed pick-up as residents of the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi bury the bodies of the demonstrators that were killed during clashes between former rebels and anti-militia protesters on Sunday. AFP
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The Libyan National Congress dismissed on Sunday Chief of Staff Major General Yussef al-Mangoush following deadly Benghazi clashes between protesters and a militia group, Al Arabiya correspondent from Tripoli reported.
At least 27 people were killed in the clashes. Reuters quoted a doctor on the ground as saying the Libyan militia was operating with Defense Ministry approval in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Protesters demonstrated outside the building of the Libya Shield brigade asking for the disbanding of militias.
“A group of protesters started protesting against the presence of militias. They were calling for the disbanding of groups to rebuild the army,” a Benghazi resident told Reuters.
“As I was leaving, I saw protesters throwing stones and the other side fired back.”
A spokesman for the security operations room in Benghazi told Reuters: “Initial reports say 18 people were injured and two were killed. No military action has been taken as of yet. We are waiting for elders to intervene.”
Ahmed Belashahr, a local activist, told Reuters: “People protested because they believe militias go against Libya’s stability, which can only be achieved through a proper army and police.”
Libya’s new rulers are still struggling to impose their authority on a myriad of armed groups who often take the law into their own hands, Reuters said.